Granholm: Colonial expects ‘full restart decision’ by end of Wednesday
Colonial Pipeline expects to make a decision on fully resuming operations by the end of Wednesday after it was forced to shut down due to a ransomware attack, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said.
Speaking at Tuesday’s White House press briefing, Granholm noted that one of the pipeline’s major lines had resumed normal operations under manual control.
“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. “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.”
“FERC [Federal Energy Regulatory Commission] is positioned to issue orders quickly to direct the pipeline to prioritize fuel to the areas that are most in need once the pipeline is up and running. We’re looking at every option we have across the federal government and all of the agencies,” she added.
Granholm said that “we expect that gas station owners are and should act responsibly” during the supply crunch. “We will have no tolerance for price gouging,” she continued.
The Energy secretary went on to acknowledge that in “these states that are impacted, even with the turning on of the pipeline, they may still feel a supply crunch.”
She later elaborated that “the crunch is in the areas that are affected by the pipeline,” predominantly the Southeast, such as southern Virginia, the Carolinas, Tennessee and Georgia.
“Things will be back to normal soon, [and] we’re asking people not to hoard. … We’re all over this,” she added.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas called the attack “a reminder that we need to take a hard look at how we need to harden our infrastructure.” Asked about whether the administration favored mandatory cybersecurity standards for pipelines, Mayorkas said that “our conversations within the administration are ongoing.”
Colonial said Monday that it expects to “substantially restore” service by the end of the week. “This plan is based on a number of factors with safety and compliance driving our operational decisions, and the goal of substantially restoring operational service by the end of the week,” the company said in a statement.