Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in Florida in response to the cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline, which shut down about 45 percent of the East Coast fuel supply and prompted long lines at some gasoline stations, with other service stations running out of gas to sell entirely.
In the order, which is effective for 30 days and thus temporarily relaxes certain restrictions in the Sunshine State, the pro-active GOP governor explained that “The sudden and unexpected closure of Colonial Pipeline and the attending disruption of fuel supplies poses a severe threat to the state of Florida and requires that immediate measures be taken to protect and to facilitate the continued delivery of such fuel products to this State, until such time as Colonial Pipeline operations have fully resumed.”
To facilitate more supply, DeSantis’ action, among other things, suspends weight and height restrictions on gas-transporting tanker trucks and temporarily allows truckers who are carrying fuel products into the state to work longer hours.
It also rules out price gouging. i.e., “unconscionable” pricing.
The governor’s order activates the National Guard “as needed” and puts the state’s director of emergency management in charge of the overall response, including coordinating with other states during the duration of the crisis.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) May 9, 2021
Florida consumers can report any opportunistic price gouging to the state attorney general’s hotline.
The governors of Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia have issued similar executive orders.
At a press conference, DeSantis said that “my fear is that you have these gas shortages — it’s gonna cause a lot of problems for people, just the convenience of life, but also for our economy.”
GAS SHORTAGE: This driver recorded long lines at six gas stations in Quincy, Florida on Monday, as several southeastern states face gas shortages due to the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline from a cyberattack. https://t.co/u6vGuawxXk pic.twitter.com/GwIhREFbOM
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 11, 2021
The governor has also called upon the Biden administration to pitch in. “We’re relaxing restrictions in terms of the way to be able to get more fuel trucks into the parts of Florida that need more fuel, but ultimately we really do need the federal government to step up and help,” he said, describing it as a cyberattack on critical infrastructure, which reportedly included ransomware.
At least some of the local shortages at Florida gas stations have resulted from the ripple effect of panic buying and/or hoarding, which officials have cautioned against.
SKY HIGH GAS PRICES: We’ve received calls into the @weartv newsroom about this #gas station in #EscambiaCounty selling regular gas for $4.29/gallon. Within a minute of our news car showing up, it was dropped to $3.29. Check it out 👇🏼 Are you paying more at the pump? #GasShortage pic.twitter.com/ghyAnQO7f6
— Renee Beninate (@reneebeninate) May 10, 2021
The Colonial Pipeline reportedly does not supply gas for the most part to Florida. Instead, the state gets most of its gas from Gulf Coast refineries. According to Fox 13, however, Florida’s panhandle gets most of its gas from Georgia, a state which has been adversely affected by the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack.
Colonial Pipeline claims that it will be able to largely resume normal operations by the end of the week.
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