Governor Declares NC a State of Emergency During Fuel Shortage
According to Dr. Mike Yoder, State Program Leader for the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service, on 9/9/16 Colonial Pipeline #1 experienced a severe leak in Helena, AL. There was approximately 252,000 gallons of gasoline spilled over 2 acres. This resulted in a shutdown of Colonial Line #1 which provides gasoline to states from the Gulf of Mexico to New York. Line #1 is the primary supplier of gasoline to North Carolina. Colonial has shifted gasoline over to Line #2 (which normally carries mostly diesel and aviation fuel). This action will not be enough to totally offset the shortage caused by the Line #1 shutdown.
Multiple counties across the state are reporting supply disruptions to local gas stations. Seventeen counties have implemented fuel conservation plans. In response to this emergency, Governor McCrory issued Executive Order #100, signed on 9/15/16, declaring a state of emergency and waiving the max hours of service for truck drivers. Executive Order #101, signed on 9/16/16, suspends motor vehicle regulations to ensure adequate fuel supplies and prohibits excessive pricing. These Executive Orders are common during hurricanes and similar emergencies.
Under normal circumstances, the Colonial Pipeline system transports approximately 2.6 million barrels of refined products each day, with Line 1 accounting for half of this volume. In an effort to minimize supply disruptions, last week Colonial Pipeline gathered gasoline from Gulf Coast refiners in order to ship supplies on its distillate line to markets throughout the affected region. As a result, supplies of gasoline have been delivered and/or are in route to terminal locations in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Colonial Pipeline has started construction on a bypass-line and while there is no timeline for its completion, there is hope that it may actually restart sometime late this week.