On September 9, 2016, Colonial Pipeline shut down its main lines in Shelby County, Alabama to investigate a potential system integrity issue. The investigation uncovered a pipeline breach resulting in a spill of 252,000 gallons of gasoline in a remote area of the county. This pipeline will remain shut down until repairs can be made, the system tested, and cleanup complete. The shutdown of this pipeline may result in gasoline supply disruptions to various retailers throughout the Commonwealth, since the pipeline is the only source of gasoline into Virginia for many of these retailers.
While current gasoline reserves in the Commonwealth are sufficient to address any immediate supply concerns, it is necessary, that the Commonwealth take appropriate measures to prevent any resource shortage occasioned by this disaster. The health and general welfare of the citizens of Virginia require that state action be taken to help prevent any potential resource shortages or fuel supply disruptions caused by this situation.
Governor Terry McAuliffe signed an executive order on September 16th, aimed at preventing a gasoline shortage. The order eases restrictions on trucks carrying gas. Those restrictions include the number of hours truck drivers can work continuously and remains in effect until October 1st. The complete details of the executive order can be found here: https://governor.virginia.gov/executive-actions/executive-orders/
Colonial Pipeline Co. doesn't expect to fully reopen its primary gasoline pipeline until next week. The pipeline is used to send gasoline from refineries on the Texas Gulf coast to states in the Southeast and along the East Coast. The company also stated that supply disruptions would be felt first in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.
September has been proclaimed as National Preparedness Month in Virginia, encouraging business owners, families and communities to make the preparations necessary in the event of an emergency.
As the most historically active time for hurricane activity in our Commonwealth, September is the right month for Virginians across the Commonwealth to take precautions that could save their lives in an emergency situation. Individuals, families and businesses should always be prepared in advance for natural disasters, accidents, and human-caused emergencies. The right equipment, quick reaction time, and the proper safety precautions are crucial in emergency situations and can make a life-saving difference.
Our number one priority is to help ensure Virginia families are safe and prepared in case of emergencies. Encourage your friends, neighbors and relatives to prepare for disasters by using the steps outlined below and having a plan in place.
All Virginians are strongly encouraged to prepare for emergencies, including hurricanes, by signing up for text alerts/weather warnings that may be offered by your locality. It is also good to assemble an emergency supply kit for your home, office and car. Account necessary items for pets, children, elderly and family members with disabilities. For a complete list of important emergency items, visit www.ReadyVirginia.gov.
You can also download the free Ready Virginia app on your cellular phone. Features include: National Weather Service warnings, customizable emergency plan, an emergency supplies checklist, the “I’m Safe!” text feature for notifying friends and family in an emergency, and an interactive map to identify potential storm surge risks.
I would also advise to create a family emergency communications plan. Get a free emergency plan worksheet at www.ReadyVirginia.gov, www.ListoVirginia.gov, or use the Ready Virginia app. Talk to an insurance agent about flood insurance. Go to www.floodsmart.gov or call 1-888-379-9531 for more information. For more information regarding emergency preparedness with special needs, please visit www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia/getakit/disabilities.
If you have any concerns, questions, comments or issues that I or my Aide, Jenna, can help you with, please contact us at (434) 821-5929 or email at Delmfariss@house.virginia.gov. You can also keep up with me on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DelegateMattFariss.