ILTA's Situational Awareness Report and Analysis for Colonial Pipeline Outage
May 13, 2021
ILTA’s Colonial Pipeline Daily Report provides a brief synopsis of news happenings, federal policy developments, and legislative discussions that are released each business day. The Daily Report is released via email and on the ILTA Colonial Resource Page, where links to the below documents can be found.
Colonial Pipeline this morning said it expects all markets it serves to begin receiving at least some product by midday today (Thursday, May 13). Still, most experts say it will take weeks or more before deliveries—and the market -- are back to pre-attack levels.
As a result, ILTA continues to advocate on behalf of the industry on several issues, including with EPA for temporary air emissions waivers at terminals and with the Coast Guard on TWIC rules (see details below).
The federal government issued a temporary Jones Act waiver to a single, unnamed, tanker, with other one-off waivers being considered. Officials have said that a blanked Jones Act waiver is unlikely, especially now that Colonial in the process of restarting.
Markets remain roiled by the outage, with spot gasoline shortages still reported in many areas. The nationwide average gasoline prices topped $3.00/gal.
ILTAsent a letter to EPA seeking temporary air emissions waivers due to operational challenges (specifically, landing floated roofs) related to the temporary shutdown of Colonial pipeline. ILTA told EPA that failure to receive these waivers will likely result in further curtailing of terminals’ operations in gasoline and diesel fuel distribution. EPA responded to ILTA that it is considering the request.
EPA’s emergency waiver of the low volatility Reformulated Gasoline (RFG) requirements in RFG Covered Areas in District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia remains in effect until May 18.
U.S. Coast Guard
ILTA continues to press USCG on providing flexibility in TWIC access requirements in areas affected by the outage. USCG headquarters has confirmed that regulated marine terminals may ask their Captain of the Port (COTP) for a deviation under the 33 CFR 105.125 “Non-Compliance” provision. ILTA has stressed to the Coast Guard that terminals are having difficulty reaching COTP for needed approvals.
The Coast Guard has provided a link to an online directory with additional phone numbers for contacting COTP. That list is available on the ILTA resource page. An additional option is to send a concise letter via email to the COTP proposing the facility’s interim measures for security while truck drivers without TWICs are given access to loading racks.
DOT, in consultation with the Department of Energy, is considering additional individual company requests. However, now that the pipeline has restarted, temporary waivers may be harder to come by, as officials fear the optics of such a move. While DOT officials say a temporary blanket waiver is not off the table, most agree that one-off waivers – if granted at all – are far more likely.
Trucks currently waiting 7-10 hours to access some facilities. Jones Act waivers would help alleviate some of that waiting.
Several lawmakers and committees of jurisdiction are proposal legislation to address issues related to the Colonial outage. For now, both chambers seem to be approaching the matter in a bipartisan manner. There is discussion of including added funding to the Biden administration’s infrastructure plan for cybersecurity in the energy network.
Members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, including Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), released statements on the reintroduction of several bipartisan energy bills designed to secure the nation's energy infrastructure.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) Wednesday morning called for legislation that would require private companies to report cyber-attacks to the government.
The White House
President Biden on Wednesday night signed an executive order aimed at strengthening the government’ cyber defense. The order does not specifically address critical infrastructure such as oil and gas pipelines, but it directs the Commerce Department to craft cybersecurity standards for companies that sell software services to the government — a move that analysts hope will ripple across the private sector nationally and globally.
President Biden is expected to hold a press conference on Colonial and other issues today.