Southern governors lift driver rules after gas spill


RICHMOND, Va. (AP/WAVY) — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory are lifting restrictions on the number of hours that truck drivers delivering fuel can work, hoping to prevent shortages in both states after the shutdown of a pipeline that spilled at least 252,000 gallons of gasoline in rural Alabama.

(Photo: Colonial Pipeline Company)
(Photo: Colonial Pipeline Company)

Governors can suspend federal transportation regulations during emergencies.

Colonial Pipeline has said most of the leaked gasoline is contained in a retention pond near the city of Helena and there’s no public safety concern. The spill was first detected on Sept. 9, but it’s not clear when it began.

The company increased its estimate of the spill’s size on Friday, saying it was between 252,000 and 336,000 gallons. Colonial doesn’t expect to fully reopen the pipeline until next week. The pipeline runs from Texas to New Jersey, supplying fuel to states in the Southeast and on the East Coast.

Colonial said that supply disruptions would be felt first in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.

McAuliffe and McCrory both signed the executive orders Friday.

Governors in Alabama and Georgia have also declared a state of emergency.

Drivers in the Southeast and East could pay more for gasoline in coming days because of the shutdown.

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Colonial Pipeline says there is not threat to public health or safety.

“Measures to protect the environment have been in place since the early hours of the response. Out of an abundance of caution, the federal government has restricted the airspace above the release location to further protect responders, personnel and the public,” a release from Colonial Pipeline reads.

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