South Carolina enacts price gouging law in wake of pipeline shutdown

South Carolina enacts price gouging law in wake of pipeline shutdown

South Carolina has enacted a law criminalizing price-gouging in light of the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline which supplies much of the fuel used by the East Coast, the Associated Press reports.

South Carolina state Attorney General Alan Wilson (R) announced on Tuesday that he had declared an “abnormal disruption in the fuel market,” allowing him to enact the block on price gouging.

Under this order, those who are found renting or selling a commodity “an unconscionable price” can be charged with price gouging, the AP reports. If found guilty, a person could face a $1,000 fine or 30 days in jail.

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This declaration in South Carolina comes one day after a state of emergency was declared in the neighboring state of North Carolina due to the pipeline shutdown.

“Today’s emergency declaration will help North Carolina prepare for any potential motor vehicle fuel supply interruptions across the state and ensure motorists are able to have access to fuel,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (R) said in a press release, according to local station WLOS.

According to Colonial Pipeline, the pipeline that was shut down by a cyberattack last week supplies about 45 percent of the fuel consumed by the East Coast.

On Tuesday, Energy Secretary Jennifer GranholmJennifer GranholmOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Western wildfires prompt evacuations in California, Oregon| House passes bill requiring EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water | Granholm announces new building energy codes Granholm announces new building energy codes Annual Energy Department report finds slight recovery in energy industry jobs MORE said the pipeline is expected to resume full operation by the end of Wednesday.

“I have had several conversations with the CEO of Colonial, who has indicated that by close of business tomorrow, Colonial will be in a position to make the full restart decision, but even after that decision is made it will take a few days to ramp up operations,” Granholm said at a White House press briefing.

“This pipeline has never been shut down before ... it will take a few days to be up and running, but our interagency operation is going to be on it all the way," she added.