Maryland officials are introducing emergency measures to relieve potential shortages after a cyberattack disrupted operations at a major pipeline that transports fuel along the East Coast.
Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Greg Slater waived weight restrictions and hours-of-service requirements for Maryland motor carriers to keep fuel moving during the temporary shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline.
“The emergency actions that we are taking will provide the state the flexibility it needs to address any disruption in fuel supply,” Gov. Larry Hogan said in a statement. “It is important for Marylanders to know that the supply chain is still working — albeit more slowly than usual — and there is no need for panic buying.”
Maryland is preparing for “all contingencies,” Hogan said.
The pipeline’s operator says it expects to largely restore service by the end of the week. Some states along the pipeline route could see gasoline shortages in the meantime.
The Colonial Pipeline runs 5,500 miles from Houston to New York City. It delivers about 45% of the fuel for the East Coast, including gasoline and jet fuel.
Maryland launched a multi-agency response to the pipeline shutdown. The Maryland Energy Administration activated the state’s fuel emergency plan and is tracking state fuel reserves.
Airline operations at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport have not yet been affected, the state reported. Airlines have several days of fuel inventory on hand and have started receiving deliveries of fuel by truck.
The Port of Baltimore is also able to receive petroleum products, including gasoline and diesel, the state said.
Includes reporting by USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey.
Madeleine O’Neill covers the Maryland State House and state issues for the USA TODAY Network. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @maddioneill.