The U.S. government temporarily suspended on Tuesday several environmental regulations to ease fuel supplies on the East Coast following the cyberattack on Colonial, the country’s largest pipeline network.
The first order, issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), affects pipeline gasoline evaporation control requirements in the states of Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.
The second lifts requirements on reformulated gasoline (RFG) and conventional gasoline for these three territories and nine other East Coast states.
The suspensions will last until May 18 and 31, respectively.
EPA Director Michael Regan justified the decision by “the extreme and unusual circumstances” and to “ensure that there is an adequate supply of gasoline available in the affected areas until supply in the region normalizes.”
President Joe Biden also ordered the lifting of hourly and lane restrictions on the transportation of fuel by road in order to avoid any shortages in the face of the closure of Colonial.
According to the specialized portal GasBuddy, this Tuesday night 12.3% of gas stations in North Carolina were out of fuel, as well as 8.6% in Virginia or 8% in Georgia, numbers that have increased over the hours.
This is due in part to the accumulation of fuel by the population due to the fear of shortages.
In addition to the measures at the federal level, the governors of Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida have declared a state of emergency to approve extraordinary measures such as the temporary suspension of the fuel tax in the face of rising prices or the possible deployment of the military.
The authorities accused the Darkside hacking group of being responsible for the cyber-attack against the Colonial pipeline networks, which transports up to 2.5 million barrels of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel a day from refineries in the Gulf of Mexico to the south and east of the United States.
The FBI also said it continues to work with the company and its government partners in the investigation of the ransomware attack, through which the hacker group blocked access to the company’s computers and is demanding money to free them.