President Biden, Lawmakers Eye More Oversight in Wake of Colonial Pipeline Hack

President Biden, Lawmakers Eye More Oversight in Wake of Colonial Pipeline Hack a out of service bag covers a gas pump An "Out Of Service" bag covers a gas pump as cars line up at a Circle K near uptown Charlotte, N.C., on May 11, 2021. (Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images)

By Charles Kim | Tuesday, 11 May 2021 07:03 PM

The Biden administration and federal lawmakers are looking at more oversight into the oil and gasoline industries following the hacking and subsequent shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline from a foreign hack, The Hill reported Tuesday.

“I think it’s pretty stunning that a company carrying 45 percent of gas and jet fuel to the East Coast was able to fall victim,” Kiersten Todt, executive director of a White House cybersecurity commission during the Obama administration said in the report. “It creates an urgent action to seriously look at how government and industry are working together to create minimum security standards.”

Lines were reported Tuesday at gas stations up and down the East Coast from Virginia to Florida as Colonial manually opened a small section of the 5,500-mile pipeline system that delivers more than 100 million gallons of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and heating oil per day, according to a Fox Business News report.

That amounts to 45 percent, or almost half of the fuel consumed between the Gulf of Mexico and the greater New York area, the report said.

Officials said in several published reports the Russian hacking group “Darkside” is likely responsible for the computer hack and subsequent shutdown of the pipeline.

In a video reminiscent of the 1970s era Arab Oil Embargo, a re-tweet from Donald Trump Jr. on Tuesday showed a long line of vehicles waiting for gas at a station in an unidentified state.

“But the media has told me repeatedly that there is no shortage and that there are no lines,” his tweet said. “Is there anything they won’t lie about?”

President Joe Biden said on Monday that his administration would begin “100-day initiatives” to look at the cybersecurity for pipelines of water, fuel and “other critical sectors,” The Hill reported.

“My administration is committed to safeguarding our critical infrastructure, much of which is privately owned and managed like Colonial,” Biden said at the White House. “Private entities are making their own determinations on cybersecurity.”

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Richard Glick and Commissioner Allison Clements put out a joint statement Monday calling for “mandatory” cybersecurity standards like those used with electricity, The Hill article said.

“Simply encouraging pipelines to voluntarily adopt best practices is an inadequate response to the ever-increasing number and sophistication of malevolent cyber actors,” they said in the statement. “Mandatory pipeline security standards are necessary to protect the infrastructure on which we all depend.”

In a breakdown of the states impacted by the gasoline shortage from the pipeline disruption, Virginia is reporting 7.6 percent of stations without gasoline and 4.9 percent without diesel fuel, Fox Business reported.

About 7.5 percent of stations in North Carolina were experiencing outages, causing Gov. Roy Cooper to declare a state of emergency "suspending motor vehicle fuel regulations to ensure adequate fuel supply supplies throughout the state," the report said.

Around five percent of gas stations reported outages in Georgia, followed by less than three percent in Florida and Alabama.

Colonial said it hopes to have the pipeline fully operational again by the weekend.