Remember the Great Georgia Gasoline Crisis of September, 2016? A broken pipeline created gasoline shortages in the southeast—and caused some gas stations to shut down.
The latest hard news on a mainstream site was dated 19 September, according to a Google search. A more thorough search found more information on other, more obscure, but legitimate sites. What do we know, now?
The good news is that a temporary bypass was completed by 22 September. The bad news is that Colonial Pipeline has announced that it will shut down Line 1 “at least once more this year to replace leaking segments…” Anyone with an iota of intelligence could certainly see that coming.
So, what’s the story?
In part, the story is that the story didn’t get good exposure in the mainstream media. Too many other things more important. Like the ex-wife of some sports star who suddenly stopped exposing her affairs on social media.
So, what is the story?
There was apparently more than one break, including one outside Atlanta. I didn’t find that in mainstream media. The pipeline is ancient… and its failure is just one more sign of the crumbling infrastructure in the US. No mention of that, either.
The US Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz, said, “It is incredible… the risk profile we have with one pipeline carrying half the gasoline supply to the east coast—70pc [percent] in many southeastern states.”
Incredible? Mr. Secretary, it’s frightening. But what is more frightening is the reaction of the public. There was nothing made of that. Have we become a nation of soma addicts? Sure seems like it.
According to news sources, spot shortages after the break extended to not only Georgia, but also the Carolinas. In some cases, gasoline was brought in from east coast ports (Savannah, for example). Of course, this justified higher prices because the gasoline would first have to be brought in by tanker from Gulf coast ports.
Add to that, there’s an archaic law (the “Jones Act”) that requires cargo between US ports be carried on US flagged and crewed ships. Because of the shortage of those ships, the cost of shipping is higher than if shippers could use foreign-flagged ships. If the east coast ports and pipelines from there to Georgia and Carolina distribution centers couldn’t handle the load, more would have to be carried longer distances by truck, which would really increase the price. This is a mess that we (the USA citizenry) created, and it’s come back to bite us in the butt.
Of course, no one is taking this seriously except the Goobernor of Georgia, who tried to make political hay and appealed to the GA-AL sports rivalries by calling it the “Alabama pipeline.” It isn’t. It belongs to Colonial Pipeline, which has 5,500 miles of pipeline crossing 13 states, according to the company’s web site. And, Colonial is based in Alpharetta, Georgia. I wonder if there’s anything that ever happens, good or bad, that some smarmy politician doesn’t try to latch on to and make it something to garner votes.
When I say no one is taking this seriously, I mean that throughout the so-called crisis, I saw people in huge SUVs lined up, air-conditioning running, in the drive-through lanes of fast chicken joints, fast burger joints, and fast taco joints. I didn’t driven past any schools, but I suspect that I would have seen the usual line of huge SUVs there every afternoon, engines and air-conditioning running, so soccer moms could pick up and transport the children who are too special to ride the school busses.
We are a sick society.
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Registered Curmudgeon, scientist, skeptic, humanist, and writer.