Gov. Northam declares state of emergency in Virginia following Colonial Pipeline cyberattack

Virginia News

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in Richmond, Va., Monday, March 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP/WRIC) — Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency in the Commonwealth to address gas supply disruptions following a cyberattack of one of America’s fuel pipelines.

Gov. Northam’s Executive Order 78 allows state agencies to issue their own waivers. It also increases flexibility and funding for state and local governments to make sure they have enough fuel supply.

“This emergency declaration will help the Commonwealth prepare for any potential supply shortages and ensure Virginia motorists have access to fuel as we respond to this evolving situation,” Governor Northam said.

The Colonial Pipeline delivers about 45% of the fuel used along the Eastern Seaboard. In Virginia, it is the primary source of fuel.

On Friday, the pipeline was the victim of a ransomware attack by a gang of criminal hackers that calls itself DarkSide. This forced the company into a precautionary shutdown.

In order to help alleviate fuel shortages in Virginia and other states, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a temporary fuel transportation waiver to increase the supply of gas.

People across Central Virginia have been rushing to gas stations worried that they may run out of gas. Several gas stations in the area are closing down due to gas shortages.

Northam’s order says that current gasoline reserves in Virginia are sufficient to address immediate supply concerns. However, long-term disruption of the pipeline will require transportation of fuel via interstate and roadways.

This is a developing story. Stay with us for updates.

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