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Politics OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Gas shortages likely to linger for days | Biden administration issues second shipping waiver amid fuel shortages | EPA orders St. Croix refinery to shut down for 60 days due to 'imminent threat' to islanders' health

01:10  15 may  2021
01:10  15 may  2021 Source:   thehill.com

Overnight Energy: Update on Biden administration conservation goals | GOP sees opportunity to knock Biden amid rising gas prices | Push for nationwide electric vehicle charging stations

  Overnight Energy: Update on Biden administration conservation goals | GOP sees opportunity to knock Biden amid rising gas prices | Push for nationwide electric vehicle charging stations IT IS WEDNESDAY, MY DUDES Welcome to Overnight Energy, your source for the day's energy and environment news.Please send tips and comments to Rachel Frazin at rfrazin@thehill.com . Follow her on Twitter: @RachelFrazin . Reach Zack Budryk at zbudryk@thehill.com or follow him on Twitter: @BudrykZack . Signup for our newsletter and others HERE. Today we're looking at the Biden administration's goals on land conservation, Republican plans to tie the president to gas price hikes and a measure to create a national network of electric vehicle charging stations.

TGIF!!!! Welcome to Overnight Energy, your source for the day's energy and environment news.Please send tips and comments to Rachel Frazin at rfrazin@thehill.com . Follow her on Twitter: @RachelFrazin . Reach Zack Budryk at zbudryk@thehill.com or follow him on Twitter: @BudrykZack . Signup for our newsletter and others HERE.

a fenced in area: OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Gas shortages likely to linger for days | Biden administration issues second shipping waiver amid fuel shortages | EPA orders St. Croix refinery to shut down for 60 days due to 'imminent threat' to islanders' health © Getty Images OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Gas shortages likely to linger for days | Biden administration issues second shipping waiver amid fuel shortages | EPA orders St. Croix refinery to shut down for 60 days due to 'imminent threat' to islanders' health

The Colonial pipeline is fully operational again but there's no telling when the gas market will be back to normal, plus another Jones Act waiver and the EPA takes action on a controversial St. Croix oil refinery.

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THE BIG SHORT: Gas shortages likely to linger for days

Gas shortages in the Southeast are likely to linger for several days as a result of panic buying sparked by the recent outage of the Colonial Pipeline.

Analysts who spoke to The Hill said shortages could last for a few days or as long as two weeks in the hardest-hit parts of the country.

Severe shortages have been seen in states like North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia, while 90 percent of stations in Washington, D.C., were also out of fuel for part of Friday, according to GasBuddy, a website that tracks gas prices using crowdsourced data.

As of Friday afternoon, 65 percent of stations in North Carolina, 48 percent of stations in South Carolina, 47 percent of stations in Georgia and 45 percent of stations in Virginia were dry, according to GasBuddy.

Biden administration scrambles to stave off gas shortage crisis

  Biden administration scrambles to stave off gas shortage crisis Even before a cyberattack crippled a major gas pipeline, prices were surging and analysts were predicting shortages as people begin to travel more.Gas lines, hoarding, price-gouging and even fist fights were reported in the Southeast as thousands of stations ran out of fuel following a cyberattack that shut down a key pipeline serving the East Coast. The administration announced on Wednesday that pipeline was restarting. Colonial Pipeline warned it will still take days to restore the supply.

What's the holdup?: Analysts said that the shortages were largely because of panic buying and hoarding that followed the shutdown, as panicked drivers purchased gas fearing a shortage. Some argued that it may take time for people to stop doing this, even though the pipeline has restarted.

"The news has to percolate a bit that the pipeline's back online before people can become more rational," said Patrick De Haan, GasBuddy's head of petroleum analysis.

Experts and organizations had somewhat varying estimates on how long this will take, but they all agreed it would be at least a few days.

"We're expecting [a return to normalcy] to take several days, at least through the weekend and the early part of next week," Devin Gladden, a spokesperson for the American Automotive Association, told The Hill. "It's still going to take a bit more time for things to get back to normal."

Read more about the shortages here:

Colonial Pipeline shutdown: Expect fuel shortages to go away by Memorial Day, expert says

  Colonial Pipeline shutdown: Expect fuel shortages to go away by Memorial Day, expert says Colonial Pipeline will likely resume over the next two days, but consumers may have to wait longer in line, experts say.The shut-off of the pipeline, the primary fuel conduit serving the East Coast, spurred many people on the east coast and in the southeast into panic-buying — with some hoarding gas — and drained supplies at thousands of gas stations. Average gas prices are above $3, and some stations in the Southeast are running out or low on fuel.

KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES: Biden administration issues second shipping waiver amid fuel shortages

The Biden administration issued a second waiver Thursday evening that will make it easier to ship gasoline to the East Coast as shortages persist despite the Colonial Pipeline being back online.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas allowed for a "temporary and targeted" waiver for a second company, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spokesperson said in a statement late Thursday.

"This decision was made after careful consideration and consultation with interagency partners across the federal government as part of the whole-of-government response President Biden directed to address the impacts of the Colonial Pipeline shut down," the spokesperson said.

The story so far: The move came a day after the first waiver was issued late Wednesday. DHS did not name either of the two companies receiving a waiver. The Hill has reached out for comment.

The waivers allow exceptions to the Jones Act, which typically requires products that are shipped between U.S. ports be transported by American vessels.

Biden waives US shipping law to mitigate fuel shortages

  Biden waives US shipping law to mitigate fuel shortages The Biden administration has temporarily waived a century-old U.S. shipping law for one company in order to mitigate fuel shortages on the East Coast following the days-long shut down of Colonial Pipeline due to a cyberattack.Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in a statement late Wednesday announced that he had approved the "temporary and targeted waiver request" for a single company. The waiver will allow foreign tankers to transport fuel between the Gulf Coast and East Coast. Under the Jones Act, goods shipped between U.S. ports are normally required to be transported by U.S.-made, owned and operated ships.

Read more about the waivers here:

KEPT AT BAY: EPA orders St. Croix refinery to shut down for 60 days due to 'imminent threat' to islanders' health

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday announced that it had ordered a U.S. Virgin Islands oil refinery to close for at least 60 days due to concerns that its operations were posing an "imminent risk to public health."

EPA Administrator Michael Regan in a press release unveiling the move said operations at Limetree Bay's St. Croix refinery will be paused "until we can be assured that this facility can operate in accordance with laws that protect public health."

The refinery has been the subject of controversy in recent months after the Trump administration in December approved the plant's reopening following a series of spills and accidents that resulted in $5 million in EPA fines and the plant's closure in 2012.

What's the threat?: Since the refinery began operating again in February, it has showered oil on residents of the largely low-income community surrounding the refinery, as well as released sulfuric gases and hydrocarbons into the air, according to the EPA.

The agency said that the air pollutants and oil releases have "sickened" many members of the St. Croix community.

"These repeated incidents at the refinery have been and remain totally unacceptable," Regan said Friday.

Fact check: Viral image of plastic bags filled with gas is from 2019

  Fact check: Viral image of plastic bags filled with gas is from 2019 An image claiming to show gas-filled plastic bags amid the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline was actually taken in 2019 in Mexico.The 5,500-mile Colonial Pipeline, which delivers about 45% of fuel for the East Coast, shut down on May 7 following a ransomware attack by a hacking group called DarkSide. Pipeline operations resumed on May 12.

"This already overburdened community has suffered through at least four recent incidents that have occurred at the facility, and each had an immediate and significant health impact on people and their property," he added. "EPA will not hesitate to use its authority to enforce the law and protect people from dangerous pollution where they work, live, and play."

Read more about the shutdown here:

ON TAP NEXT WEEK:

On Wednesday:

  • Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm is slated to appear before the House Energy and Commerce Committee to discuss both the department's budget request and the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack.
  • The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing titled "Misuse of Taxpayer Dollars and Corporate Welfare in the Oil and Gas Industry."
  • The House Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on global climate finance, with several administration officials slated to appear.
  • The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing to examine biodiversity loss.

On Thursday:

  • The Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee will hold a hearing to examine Federal, state, and private forestlands, focusing on opportunities for addressing climate change.
  • The House Climate Committee is having a hearing on investments to "modernize and expand" the electric grid.

WHAT WE'RE READING:

Washington governor vetoes measure to end sale of new gas-powered cars by 2030, MyNorthWest reports.

Shell, Singapore university to work on $3.4 million decarbonization study, Reuters reports.

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Biden contemplates a climate deal with the 'Trump of the tropics', Politico reports.

Michigan Line 5 opponents serve 'eviction notice' at Enbridge pumping station, Energy News Network reports.

Nevada Democrats unveil renewable energy infrastructure bill, The Associated Press reports.

ICYMI: Stories from Friday....

EPA orders St. Croix refinery to shut down for 60 days due to 'imminent threat' to islanders' health.

Lawmakers roll out legislation to defend pipelines against cyber threats.

Appeals court upholds verdict against Bayer on herbicide Roundup.

Oklahoma dam explosion kills two.

Biden administration issues second shipping waiver amid fuel shortages.

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Colonial Pipeline paid a $5M ransom – but will that only invite other malware hacks?: 'If the payments stop, the attacks will stop' .
Some cybersecurity experts, afraid Colonial Pipeline's $5M payout to hackers will trigger more malware attacks, are seeking a ban on ransom payments.The critiques stem from a decision by Colonial Pipeline, a gasoline delivery company, to pay more than $5 million for control of its computer system from a criminal syndicate known as Darkside.

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