Biden predicts ‘good news’ on Colonial Pipeline in 24 hours
President Biden on Wednesday predicted there would be positive news to share related to the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline within the next 24 hours and said he believed his administration would get the situation “under control.”
Biden’s remarks to reporters at the White House on Wednesday afternoon came as several states in the southeast U.S. faced major gasoline shortages on the fifth day of the pipeline’s operations being shut down as a result of a ransomware attack.
“We have been in very, very close contact with Colonial Pipeline,” Biden told reporters after concluding a speech on coronavirus vaccinations. “I think you’re going to hear some good news in the next 24 hours and I think we’ll be getting that under control.”
Biden said that in the meantime he was making it easier for fuel to reach areas of demand, including by temporarily lifting transportation restrictions on fuel in some states. The Environmental Protection Agency has also temporarily lifted environmental requirements for fuel in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.
U.S. officials are also considering potential waivers of the Jones Act, which would allow foreign shops to carry fuel up the Eastern Seaboard to help mitigate the supply shortage.
Colonial Pipeline, which supplies almost half of the gas, diesel and jet fuel for the East Coast, has said it plans to begin restarting operations in a phased approach by the end of the week, but it could take several days for operations to fully restore.
Meanwhile, as of Wednesday afternoon, 65 percent of gas stations in North Carolina, 44 percent of those in Virginia and 43 percent of those in Georgia and South Carolina were out of fuel. Other southern states were reporting smaller shortfall percentages.
Biden on Wednesday underscored the need for the U.S. to expand its field of cybersecurity workers in order to address long-term challenges associated with cyberattacks not only on the energy industry but other sectors as well.
“I think we have to make a greater investment in education as it relates to being able to train and graduate more people proficient in cybersecurity,” Biden said.
“I think that one of the most important things we have to do to reclaim our place as the leading innovative in the world is to have a better-educated workforce,” he added.