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White House monitoring fuel shortage in Southeast amid pipeline cyberattack

Colonial Pipeline
Posted at 6:33 AM, May 11, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. officials are seeking to soothe concerns about price spikes or damage to the economy from last week's cyberattack on a major fuel pipeline.

The company that operates the Colonial Pipeline says it's working toward “substantially restoring operational service” by this weekend.

Officials stress the fuel supply has not experienced widespread disruptions.

The White House says it's monitoring supply shortages in parts of the Southeast. An analyst for GasBuddy told Bloomberg that an estimated 7% of gas stations in Virginia were out of fuel on Monday, and stations in Florida and Alabama were also experiencing shortages.

In a statement issued late Monday night, the White House said it is "evaluating every action the Administration can take to mitigate the impact as much as possible." The statement also said that Biden has directed several goernment agencies "to bear to help alleviate shortages where they may occur."

On Monday, the Transportation Department said it was loosening regulations over the transport of petroleum products on highways.

Colonial Pipeline delivers about 45% of the fuel consumed on the East Coast.

The FBI says the criminal syndicate whose ransomware was used in the attack is named DarkSide, whose members are Russian speakers. Russia denies any involvement.

While the FBI has been investigating that strain of malware since October, deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology Anne Neuberger said during a press briefing on Monday that the "intent" of the group — whether financial or a deliberate attack on U.S. infrastructure — is still unknown.