Gov. Pat McCrory announced today that Colonial Pipeline has completed construction on the bypass line in Alabama that will get the fuel supply running again up the East Coast after a leak Sep. 9 disrupted the flow of gasoline to North Carolina.
It will take several days to test the bypass line and get fuel back moving through the pipeline.
“I’m pleased to report that Colonial Pipeline has now completed construction and positioning of the bypass pipeline,” McCrory said. “Colonial engineers are testing the pipeline today and upon successful completion, will prepare for a safe restart of the main fuel line. The company says the line should restart tomorrow, but it will take several days for fuel delivery to return to normal in North Carolina.”
Here in the Old North State, many gas stations have been completely out of unleaded gasoline, and the stations that aren’t out are seeing lines around parking lots and even into the street.
Colonial Pipeline officials discovered the leak in a portion of the pipeline in Alabama where an estimated 252,000 gallons was spilled.
Because of the leak and subsequent shutdown of the line, the state is only receiving about one-third of the normal fuel supply that it usually gets.
Based in Alpharetta, Ga., the Colonial Pipeline Co. says it operates more than 5,500 miles of underground pipe crossing 13 states.
The company normally transports more than 100 million gallons of fuel every day, mostly from the Gulf Coast to the South and East.
McCrory said Monday that his primary focus remains “ensuring that our first responders have sufficient fuel to do their jobs.”
He also said that several counties in North Carolina have been reporting fuel outages or low supplies, but that many of the outages are due to people filling up their tanks to “top them off,” or filling up extra containers of fuel.
“We’ve successfully weathered fuel shortages before and we will do it again,” McCrory said. “Now is the time to pull together as a state and to conserve fuel when it’s possible. We look forward to returning to business as usual in the near future.”
In keeping with that, McCrory instructed state agencies on Monday to consider options to limit fuel usage, including curtailing non-essential travel for state employees.
He has also encouraged the private sector and North Carolina motorists to follow the state’s example by conserving fuel whenever possible.
“I continue to warn motorists to be on the lookout for price gouging,” McCrory said. “We are taking steps to protect consumers and ensure that fuel is continuing to flow into the state. To help ensure adequate fuel supplies, I have instructed state agencies to consider options to limit fuel use, including curtailing non-essential travel for state employees.”
On Monday McCrory activated North Carolina’s State Emergency Response Team to coordinate with counties regarding fuel needs.
Since Friday more than 600 consumers have reported potential fuel price gouging to North Carolina’s Consumer Protection Division, according to WFMY-TV.
McCrory activated the state’s price-gouging law, which comes into effect in times of emergency when critical needs supplies may be interrupted.
McCrory declared a state of emergency last week in response to the pipeline leak