Politics

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declares state of emergency due to East Coast gas shortage

On Tuesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency due to a cyberattack that shut down a major pipeline leaving thousands of gas stations across several states without fuel.

Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in light of a cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline, which delivers about 45% of fuel that is consumed on the East Coast.  Fox Business reports that DeSantis’s declaration activates the Florida National Guard as necessary and directs state emergency management to work with federal and local officials. The fuel shortage will impact the Panhandle the most, since a large amount of their supply comes from Georgia, which the Colonial Pipeline serves. As a result, drivers in Florida and other affected states have bolted to the pumps, sparking unwarranted panic-buying among buyers. 

The executive order will remain in effect until the Colonial Pipeline is fully restored. Much of the pipeline resumed operations manually late Monday, with remaining operations anticipated to restart by the end of the week. “We really do need the federal government to step up and help, and we don’t want to see these long gas lines persist throughout the northern part of our state,” DeSantis said (Orlando Sentinel). Florida was among the states that was least affected, as most of Florida’s fuel comes from Gulf Coast refineries. However, this hasn’t prevented the panic from ensuing, despite Governor DeSantis’s comments.  

DeSantis is not the only state that has declared a state of emergency.  Florida is joined by Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia (BestLife). The U.S Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Administration also issued a regional emergency declaration for the states impacted by the pipeline shutdown. The cyberattack came from hackers who demanded millions in ransom money – a price the pipeline was not willing to pay. As the pipeline goes back online, it will take several days for operations to return to normal. “This is the first step in the restart process and would not have been possible without the around-the-clock support of Colonial Pipeline’s dedicated employees who have worked tirelessly to help us achieve this milestone,” the company said. Residents affected by the shutdown will likely see relief in the coming days.

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ARTICLE: JILLIAN WEIDNER 

POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: NEWSWEEK

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