Florida declares state of emergency after pipeline cyberattack
Miami, Florida, May 11 (EFE).- Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency on Tuesday to avoid a fuel supply crisis in the wake of the cyberattack against the largest network of oil pipelines in the country.
The government measure comes after Colonial Pipeline, which supplies 45 percent of the fuel consumed on the US’ east coast, was the target of a ransomware cyberattack that has forced it to shut down its system.
At a press conference, DeSantis said his administration is monitoring the effects of the attack and the impact it is having on the north of the state, while calling for the federal government to step up.
Under the governor’s emergency order, the state would remove weight and size restrictions on fuel tankers to allow more gasoline to reach the region.
The order also makes price speculation illegal and activates the Florida National Guard.
“I think this is something that demands really serious federal attention. This was essentially a cyberattack on critical infrastructure in our country,” said the Republican governor, according to local media.
“You can’t just say it’s a private pipeline therefore, we’re not going to be involved. No, the US government needs to be involved. They need to help mitigate this.”
He added that he fears that the gas shortage could damage the Florida economy and stressed that the attack on the Colonial Pipeline represents an immediate threat to the delivery of fuel to the so-called Sunshine State.
The US government said on Tuesday that it is facing issues in the supply of fuel in certain areas after the cyberattack against the largest network of oil pipelines in the country, but clarified that there is no shortage of gasoline as people were seen panic-buying at gas stations.
Experts have warned that if the stoppage of activities persists, fuel prices could reach levels not seen since the end of 2014.
The American Automobile Association revealed that the average price of gasoline stood at $2.98 Tuesday, compared to $2.96 for the national average over the weekend.
Colonial Pipeline reported a temporary interruption of its website on Twitter Tuesday, saying it was unrelated to the attack the FBI has attributed to the DarkSide hacking group. EFE