Overnight Energy: Southeast sees gas shortages amid pipeline shutdown | Feds eye more oversight of pipelines after Colonial attack | Biden administration approves major offshore wind project

Overnight Energy: Southeast sees gas shortages amid pipeline shutdown | Feds eye more oversight of pipelines after Colonial attack | Biden administration approves major offshore wind project
© Getty Images

IT’S TUESDAY!!!  Welcome to Overnight Energy, your source for the day’s energy and environment news.Please send tips and comments to Rachel Frazin at rfrazin@thehill.com . Follow her on Twitter: @RachelFrazin . Reach Zack Budryk at zbudryk@thehill.com or follow him on Twitter: @BudrykZack . Signup for our newsletter and others HERE

Today we are looking at fuel shortages related to the Colonial Pipeline shutdown, federal officials eyeing more pipeline security oversight and the Biden administration’s approval of a major wind project. 

 

ADVERTISEMENT

SHORT AND NOT SO SWEET: Southeast sees gas shortages amid pipeline shutdown

Parts of the southeastern U.S. are seeing gasoline shortages following a cyberattack that shut down Colonial Pipeline.

As of Tuesday afternoon, nearly 8 percent of Virginia gas stations, nearly 9 percent of North Carolina gas stations and nearly 6 percent of Georgia gas stations were without fuel, according to GasBuddy. That's an increase from earlier in the day.

Gas prices also appeared to be somewhat higher, averaging almost $2.99 per gallon across the country, according to the American Automobile Association. This is up by about 2 cents from Monday and about 7 cents from a week ago. 

It goes beyond cars: Fuel supply shortages from the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack are hitting airlines at a time when the industry is just beginning to emerge from the coronavirus recession.

The 5,500-mile pipeline services seven airports in the eastern part of the country, prompting some carriers to alter routes as a way to maintain access to jet fuel.

And while Colonial is optimistic that its operations will return to normal later this week, an extended disruption could force airlines to consider passing the added costs along to passengers in the form of higher airfares heading into the summer travel season.

“Fuel purchases typically represent the most significant expenses for commercial airlines,”  said Kevin Kennedy, an analyst with IBISWorld, a market research firm. “A prolonged disruption of the fuel supply will undoubtedly affect profitability.” 

Read more about the airline impacts here.

How is that whole shutdown thing going, by the way? 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 GranholmJennifer GranholmEnergy Department to seek feedback on voluntary nuclear waste facilities The massive messaging miscues of all the president's men (and women) White House looks to rein in gas prices ahead of busy travel season MORE 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.”

Read more about Granholm’s comments here. 

 

WHAT’S NEXT? Feds eye more oversight of pipelines after Colonial attack

The Biden administration and Capitol Hill are taking a closer look at the security in place for critical oil and gas utilities following the Colonial Pipeline shutdown.

Some officials have indicated that the ransomware attack on a pipeline that provides almost half of the East Coast's energy may have unfolded as it did due to the relative lack of federal oversight of pipelines compared to other utilities.

Two leaders of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which regulates oil transportation pipelines, are calling for mandatory security standards for the industry.

 

Read more about what officials are looking at here.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

WINDING ROAD AHEAD: Biden administration approves major offshore wind project

The Biden administration on Tuesday announced that it has approved construction of what it described as the first large-scale offshore wind project in the country. The Vineyard Wind project, which will consist of up to 84 wind turbines, is expected to be able to produce enough energy to power more than 400,000 homes, the administration said.

The project will be located 12 nautical miles from both Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., and Nantucket, Mass., and is expected to be completed in 2023.

 

Read more about the project here.

 

SAGE GROUSE IN THE HOUSE: Biden to start environmental review of bird habitat Trump opened for mining

ADVERTISEMENT

The Biden administration has indicated that it will begin reviewing the use of land where the sage grouse bird resides, including a Trump administration decision to open that land up to mining. 

The administration said in a statement posted to its website that it would comply with a February court decision that vacated its predecessor's move and sent the issue back to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

 

The February ruling also said that the agency should consider whether preventing mining on the lands is necessary to conserve the sage grouse. 

A new filing this week said that the administration will comply with the February court order and is “discussing possible next steps.” 

Read more on the review here.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

ON TAP TOMORROW:

 

WHAT WE’RE READING:

Whitmer threatens profit seizure as Enbridge Line 5 closure deadline looms, MLive reports

EU countries want emissions targets to stay linked to wealth -document, Reuters reports

Environment agency: New York on track to achieve zero emissions electricity by 2040, WWTI reports

Study finds high levels of methane emissions on Navajo Nation lands, according to the New Mexico Political Report

 

ICYMI: Stories from Tuesday...

Biden to start environmental review of bird habitat Trump opened for mining

Granholm: Colonial expects 'full restart decision' by end of Wednesday

Southeast sees gas shortages amid pipeline shutdown

Biden administration approves major offshore wind project

EPA waives air quality gasoline regulation in 3 states, DC after pipeline hack

EPA to award $9.6 million in grants for beach water monitoring, notifications

Feds eye more oversight of pipelines after Colonial attack

Airlines start to feel Colonial Pipeline pinch


OFF-BEAT AND OFFBEAT:  Take a look at this scary fish!