RICHMOND— Governor Ralph Northam Tuesday signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in Virginia to address gasoline supply disruptions throughout the Commonwealth.
Northam said on May 7 the Colonial Pipeline system, which is the primary fuel source for many Virginia retailers, reported a ransomware cyberattack that resulted in a temporary shutdown. The pipeline was still shutdown Tuesday.
“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,” Northam said.
While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a temporary fuel transportation waiver to increase the supply of gasoline, Northam’s emergency declaration allows state agencies to issue their own waivers as required by the state, the governor’s office said. It also provides increased flexibility and funding for state and local governments to ensure adequate fuel supply.
Earlier today, EPA Administrator Michael Regan issued an emergency fuel waiver to help alleviate fuel shortages in Virginia and other states whose supply of reformulated gasoline has been impacted by the pipeline shutdown, the governor’s office said. This waiver will continue through May 18, 2021.
In neighboring West Virginia, the Mercer County Sheriff's Department issued a statement Tuesday urging area residents not to stockpile gasoline.
"Please refrain from stockpiling on fuel," the sheriff's department statement said. "Your neighbors rely on fuel as well as all emergency services within the county."