Motorists in the High Country, the region, the state and the southeast are starting to see the first impacts from a leaking pipeline in Alabama. The line, a major means of carrying gas to the eastern part of the US, has been closed since September 9.
Details about the incident are as follows and provided by the operator of the line Colonial Pipeline:
“On Friday, September 9, 2016, a mining inspector in Shelby County, Ala., detected a gasoline odor on mining property. He alerted Colonial Pipeline, which operates two pipelines in the immediate vicinity. Both pipelines were shut down as a precaution and Colonial employees were dispatched for a visual survey of the site. Upon confirmation of a release, Colonial Pipeline mobilized a coordinated response effort with federal, state and local agencies as well as local emergency responders. Colonial Pipeline has more than 700 employees and partners on site working as safely and expeditiously as possible to repair the impacted segment of pipe and return to normal operations.”
Some High Country residents have told WataugaOnline.com, via social media, that they have already seen signs at some gas stations advising that rationing of gas may be implemented. From a local standpoint WataugaOnline.com will follow up on that and provide more information as it is available. Some residents have also commented that they have seen prices go up just in the last 24-48 hours.
On Friday, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory issued this statement:
“Governor Pat McCrory signed an executive order today to help ensure that there will be adequate supplies of fuel across the state and prevent excessive fuel pricing. Crews are continuing work to repair a leak that surfaced last week in Alabama on the Colonial Pipeline that provides fuel to North Carolina and other southeastern states.
“We are working with state and national officials to make sure North Carolina is not impacted by this leak,” said Governor McCrory. “This executive order will help protect our motorists from excessive gas prices and ensure an uninterrupted supply of fuel that is essential for the health, safety and economic well-being of businesses, consumers and visitors in North Carolina.”
According to a tweet by Patrick DeHaan, Senior Petroleum Analyst with GasBuddy:
#GasPrices may rise 5-15c in GA, NC, TN, VA and 10-20c in SC over the next week due to supply/pipeline outage. Some stations may run out.
— Patrick DeHaan (@GasBuddyGuy) September 15, 2016
On Saturday night, Colonial Pipeline provided this update:
“Upon receiving approval from Unified Command, Colonial Pipeline has begun to execute its alternative plan to construct a bypass line around the leak site to allow Line 1 to return to service as rapidly and safely as possible. This plan has been reviewed by all appropriate federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
As this plan is implemented, the top priority of the unified response team remains the safety and protection of the public, responders, and the environment. Remediation efforts at the initial release site will also continue as conditions are deemed safe.
The EPA has also issued a second waiver to allow for reformulated and conventional gasoline to be sold in markets that may be impacted by the disruption in supply caused by the disruption in service to Colonial Pipeline Line 1. This waiver is effective immediately through October 6, 2016.”
As this situation continues to unfold WataugaOnline.com will continue to provide updates.