clearn.png
Saturday December 4th, 2021 6:09PM

Gasoline pipeline shutdown tests Biden administration

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

The cyberattack last week on a primary gasoline pipeline has created new political and economic risks for the Biden administration, which is working to keep the fuel flowing as prices spike.

Officials laid out plans Wednesday to address transportation issues and price pressures after ransom-seeking hackers last week shut down the Colonial Pipeline, which delivers about 45% of the East Coast's gas.

It's possible that the pipeline could be running again in the next few days, but the administration is also pushing the crisis as a reason why President Joe Biden's $2.3 trillion infrastructure package should be approved.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg noted that the cyberattack was a reminder that infrastructure is a national security issue and investments for greater resilience are needed.

“This is not an extra, this is not a luxury, this is not an option,” he told reporters at the White House on Wednesday. “This has to be core to how we secure critical infrastructure.”

The administration made a point of stressing all the steps it's taking to get gas back to service stations in affected areas.

The Transportation Department is surveying how many vessels can carry fossil fuels to the Gulf of Mexico and Eastern Seaboard to provide gasoline. Waivers have been issued to expand the hours that fuel can be transported by roadways. The Environmental Protection Agency has issued waivers on gas blends and other regulations to ease any supply challenges.

The technology firm Gasbuddy.com found that 28% of stations were out of fuel in North Carolina. In Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia, more than 16% of stations were without gas.

But the sudden supply crunch after Friday's hack shows the challenges that can pop up for a White House that must constantly respond to world events. Republican lawmakers were quick to criticize the administration for previously canceling plans to construct the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada. Biden canceled its permit over risks of spills and worries that climate change would worsen by burning the oil sands crude that would have flowed through the pipeline.

“The Colonial Pipeline crisis shows that we need more American energy to fuel our economy, not less,” House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday on Twitter, adding that Biden had "left our energy supply more vulnerable to attacks” by blocking the Keystone XL pipeline.

The closed pipeline is one of many obstacles that are now confronting the president.

Within just a few days, the Biden administration has been dealt a disappointing monthly jobs report, a potentially worrisome increase in inflation, lethal violence in Israel and a nearly 3% jump in gas prices over the past week. It is still trying to vaccinate the country against the coronavirus, send out hundreds of billions of dollars in economic aid and pass its own sweeping jobs and education agenda.

“You have to be prepared to juggle multiple challenges, multiple crises at one time, and that’s exactly what we’re doing at this moment,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday.

Higher energy prices often have political spillovers, complicating reelection campaigns for incumbents outside oil-producing regions. The 1979 fuel shortage famously crushed Jimmy Carter's presidential reelection efforts and helped usher in the Reagan era.

Research published last year by the World Bank looked at 207 elections across 50 democracies and found an oil price spike a year before the election “systematically lower the odds of incumbents being reelected.” The findings applied to both conservatives and liberals, showing a degree of pragmatism by voters.

Biden's best messaging response might be to signal that he understands how the supply crunch can hurt family budgets.

“It’s important for the president to show empathy and recognize the position that the average American is in vis-à-vis gas prices," said Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University in Houston. "Gas prices are something that don’t affect the elite — and our politicians are all among the elite.”

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Business, AP Business - Economy, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Utilities
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
US hits China and others for repressing religious freedom
The Biden administration is taking aim at China and a number of other countries for repressing religious freedom as it forges ahead with its aim of restoring human rights as a primary foreign policy focus
3:47PM ( 4 minutes ago )
Report on campus doctor raises flags about iconic coach
A report about a doctor accused of sexually assaulting hundreds of young men at the University of Michigan is pointing an unflattering light at one of the school’s iconic figures
3:44PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Gasoline pipeline shutdown tests Biden administration
The Biden administration knows that higher gas prices and long lines can carry severe political risks as well as threats to a recovering economy
3:44PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Funerals held for 9 victims of Russian school attack
Relatives wept and hugged as the nine people killed in a school shooting in the Russian city of Kazan were buried
3:12PM ( 39 minutes ago )
US looking at how to weed out extremists in law enforcement
Attorney General Merrick Garland says the Justice Department is looking into how it can weed out any extremists from within federal law enforcement following the arrest of current and former law enforcement officers involved in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol
3:07PM ( 45 minutes ago )
GOP's Faulconer pitches tax cut plan for California
Republican Kevin Faulconer wants to eliminate state income taxes for households making up to $100,000 as part of a proposal to make California more affordable for the middle class
2:57PM ( 54 minutes ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
The Latest: Some schools ditch student mask requirements
Dozens of school districts around the country have eliminated requirements for students to wear masks, and many more are likely to ditch them before the next academic year
3:16PM ( 36 minutes ago )
Rising commodities costs hit Americans at home and on road
Rising prices for a variety of commodities are contributing to a jump in prices at the consumer level
1:36PM ( 2 hours ago )
WNBA tips off 25th anniversary season
The WNBA will tip off its 25th season on Friday after an offseason that was full of player movement, including Candace Parker returning home to Chicago
1:14PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
EXPLAINER: Why are fears of high inflation getting worse?
Gas prices are rising
12:14PM ( 3 hours ago )
Consumer prices shot up 0.8% in April as worries escalate
A worrisome bout of inflation struck the economy in April, with U.S. consumer prices surging 0.8%, the largest monthly jump in in more than a decade and the year-over-year increase reaching its fastest rate since 2008
11:12AM ( 4 hours ago )
UK economy showed resilience ahead of big lockdown easing
Official figures show that the British economy contracted by 1.5% in the first quarter of 2021, a relatively modest contraction given that the country was in the midst of a strict lockdown to combat a second wave of the coronavirus
10:13AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Business - Economy
The Latest: CDC mulls advice for Pfizer shots age 12 and up
Federal health advisers are meeting to issue recommendations on how to vaccinate kids as young as 12 with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
11:57AM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Israeli police call curfew on Lod after clashes
Israeli police are imposing a nighttime curfew on a central city that was the scene of unrest in recent days
11:39AM ( 4 hours ago )
The Latest: Palestinians in Serbia rally in support of Gaza
Dozens of Palestinians living in Belgrade have staged a protest in the Serbian capital over an escalation in fighting in the Gaza Strip in recent days
10:59AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
Ukraine charges Putin ally Medvedchuk with treason
Ukraine has indicted a top opposition figure who is a close ally of Russia’s president with treason and attempts to steal natural resources from Russia-annexed Crimea
8:59PM ( 18 hours ago )
Gas stations report shortages as pipeline shutdown drags on
More than 1,000 gas stations in the Southeast reported running out of fuel, primarily because of what analysts say is unwarranted panic-buying among drivers, as the shutdown of a major pipeline by hackers entered its fifth day
8:57PM ( 18 hours ago )
EPA sets grants to restore 'brownfields' at blighted sites
The Environmental Protection Agency has announced more than $66 million in grants to 151 communities nationwide to assess and clean up contaminated or abandoned “brownfields."
6:08PM ( 21 hours ago )
AP Business - Utilities
Report on campus doctor raises flags about iconic coach
A report about a doctor accused of sexually assaulting hundreds of young men at the University of Michigan is pointing an unflattering light at one of the school’s iconic figures
3:44PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Dozens killed in Mideast conflict that recalls 2014 Gaza war
Israel has killed a string of senior Hamas military figures and pounded three multistory towers as it hammers the Gaza Strip with airstrikes
3:40PM ( 11 minutes ago )
US files first trade complaint with Mexico under USMCA
The United States has filed its first labor complaint involving Mexico under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, after an old-guard union was caught destroying ballots at a General Motors plant in northern Mexico
3:39PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Kerry: US weighs sanctions on China solar over forced labor
The Biden administration is considering sanctions over China’s alleged use of forced labor in manufacturing of solar panels and other climate-friendly production
3:38PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Ruling paves way for longer sentence in George Floyd's death
A Minnesota judge has found aggravating factors in the death of George Floyd
3:35PM ( 16 minutes ago )