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N.C. governor says ‘don’t rush to top off your tanks’ as pipeline recovers from cyber attack

Updated: May. 11, 2021 at 2:37 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper is telling residents “please don’t rush to top off your tanks” as a major pipeline recovers from a cyber attack over the weekend.

On Monday, Gov. Cooper issued a state of emergency allowing for fuel transportation waivers in the wake of the cyber attack on the Colonial Pipeline.

In response to the temporary shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline, Gov. Cooper signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in North Carolina and temporarily suspending motor vehicle fuel regulations to ensure adequate fuel supply supplies throughout the state.

On May 7, 2021, the Colonial Pipeline system reported a ransomware cyber-attack, resulting in a temporary shutdown of that line. The Colonial Pipeline is a primary fuel pipeline for North Carolina.

But on Tuesday, after multiple reports of gas stations running out of gas and people lining up at the pumps all over the Carolinas, the governor wants to remind residents not to panic.

“I have talked today with federal officials including Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and we have a full court press to get the Colonial Pipeline back up and fully operating quickly. Report price gouging and please don’t rush to top off your tanks,” Gov. Cooper tweeted.

Colonial Pipeline says it hopes to have service mostly restored by the end of the week after halting operations because of a ransomware attack the FBI has linked to a criminal gang.

The ransomware attack on the pipeline, which the company says delivers roughly 45 percent of fuel consumed on the U.S. East Coast, raised concerns that supplies of gasoline, jet fuel and diesel could be disrupted in parts of the region if the disruption continues.

At the moment, though, officials said there is no fuel shortage.

The Colonial Pipeline transports gasoline and other fuel through 10 states between Texas and New Jersey, according to the company.

Colonial is in the process of restarting portions of its network. It said Sunday that its main pipeline remained offline, but that some smaller lines were operational. The company has not said when it would completely restart the pipeline.

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