TAMPA (WFLA) – Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday declared a state of emergency over the cyber attack that shut down the Colonial Pipeline.
The Colonial Pipeline, the biggest fuel pipeline in the U.S., delivering about 45% of what is consumed on the East Coast, was hit on Friday with a cyberattack by hackers who lock up computer systems and demand a ransom to release them. The attack raised concerns, once again, about the vulnerability of the nation’s critical infrastructure.
A large part of the pipeline resumed operations manually late Monday, and Colonial anticipates restarting most of its operations by the end of the week, U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said.
DeSantis said in a press conference earlier in the day that the state was monitoring the situation.
“I think this is something that demands really serious federal attention,” DeSantis adding, “My fear is you have these gas shortages; it’s going to cause a lot of problems for people.”
The governor’s emergency order states the disruption of the Colonial Pipeline “poses a significant and immediate threat to the continued delivery of such fuel products to the State of Florida and many other states located in the Eastern United States.”
When the pipeline will come back online isn’t entirely clear. In the meantime, the state is working on finding other means to deliver fuel to impacted areas.
Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried put out a video on Twitter urging Floridians to refrain from panic buying gasoline.
“Fuel is continuing to move around our state,” said Fried.
AAA issued a statement to News Channel 8 in regards to gas supply issues in Tampa Bay:
People are hearing there’s a pipeline outage somewhere and are racing out to fill up their tanks. Gasoline sales are reportedly 2-3 times higher than normal.
“As a result, drivers are creating the gasoline shortage. Despite the pipeline outage, we continued to receive shipments of gasoline via waterborne vessels (as we always have). So the only shortage we should expect here in Tampa, is whatever shortage is manufactured by fear.”