A state of emergency has been declared by the federal government following an attack on critical infrastructure that has left one of the largest oil pipelines in serious trouble.
The declaration, which was issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on May 9, encompasses 17 states plus the District of Columbia, and is in response to the shutdown of one of the largest oil pipelines in the United States.
The Colonial Pipeline supplies approximately 45 percent of fuel consumed on the East Coast, and the shutdown is already effecting its operations. According to the company, more than 5,000 miles of pipeline have been shut down in response to a ransomware attack on its system. Experts have determined that, if the pipeline is not operational within the next few days, gas prices may start to rise. As of May 10, the pipeline has been out of operation for four days.
On May 9, it was reported that the investigation into the matter has determined the perpetrator of the attack to be a criminal ransomware gang known as ‘Dark Horse.’
According to reporting by The Hill:
“The regional emergency declaration from the Department of Transportation lifts restrictions for motor carriers and drivers who are providing assistance to areas that are suffering a shortages of ‘gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products’ in the wake of the Colonial pipeline shutdown… The declaration grants drivers and carriers relief from ‘Parts 390 through 399 of Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations except as restricted herein.’ These regulations are reinstated once a driver or commercial motor vehicle is used for interstate commerce that does not provide assistance to help the shortage.”
The regional emergency declaration affects the following states:
- The District of Columbia
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
The state of emergency will remain in effect until the end of the emergency, or until midnight on June 8.