WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The nation’s largest fuel pipeline came back online Wednesday and, according to the White House, gas shortages throughout the southeast should soon be over.
“No need to panic. It’s coming to you. Things will be back to normal,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said shortly after the Colonial Pipeline got back up and running.
The pipeline was forced to close for several days after a cyberattack. Secretary Granholm said drivers who were impacted by the shutdown should soon be able to fuel up again, although it may take a few days.
“The gasoline that goes through the pipeline only goes at 5 miles an hour,” Granholm said.
Despite the hack and shutdown, the energy secretary said there’s no reason to raise gas prices.
“We really want to send a message to gasoline stations not to take advantage of this and not to price gouge,” she added.
The pipeline was shut down as a precaution after Russia-based hackers planted “ransomware” in Colonial Pipeline’s computers, according to authorities. The company feared it might spread to other systems, damage the pipeline or create an environmental disaster.
“Now that they have done the reviews, they found that they were able to contain it, they rebuilt their system and they’re able to start it up again,” Granholm added.
President Joe Biden said the U.S. needs to build its defenses against hackers like the ones that attacked the pipeline company.
“We need a significantly larger number of people in the area of cybersecurity,” President Biden said Wednesday.
“It is happening all the time, so we need to have our cyber defenses up,” Granholm said. “You need to install cyber security systems in any industry but particularly in the energy industry.”
The president signed an executive order Wednesday night directing the federal government to improve its cybersecurity and urge private industry to do the same.