Written by Evelyn Dunn, Staff Writer
Georgia is in a state of emergency because of a leak discovered in a major pipeline on Sept. 9. The pipeline spilled over 300,000 gallons of fuel in central Alabama, causing major fuel shortages and increased prices across the southeast.
According to ABC News, the ruptured line, which is owned by Colonial Pipeline, was discovered by workers when the stench of fuel and dead vegetation in that area was apparent. However, the leak could not have flowed into a better place, and the company was reported to be extremely lucky.
Mathew Teague of The Guardian explained the fuel spill happened in an ecologically sensitive environment, but it only flowed into a retention pond a few yards away, so the fuel didn’t have a chance to flow into any major rivers, like the Cahaba, where it would have disrupted wildlife significantly, leading destruction in its wake for endangered species and other organisms along that river system.
Experts reported to The Guardian that some of the fuel could be salvageable. The company has over 500 workers on the site. However, the fumes from the fuel are so strong they had to close down the roads nearby and the airspace above the area.
Teague also reported dams have been established downstream to stop any fuel that might have escaped the retention pond. That way it can be stopped in its tracks before it impacts the river system too much.
The major concern across the southeastern states now is the fuel shortages that are already starting to affect them. Georgia, North Carolina and Alabama’s governors have all declared a state of emergency from this crisis.
Colonial opened another line last Wednesday, ABC News reported, so it can start carrying fuel to the states in need. The pipeline runs parallel to the one ruptured, and typically carries diesel and other petrol chemicals.
Gas prices have also increased and some regions of the states are more affected than others. Atlanta for instance has skyrocketed since the incident.
“I had to fill up on gas to get back to Valdosta, and the most expensive price I saw for regular was $1.79,” said Macy Miller, who attended Music Midtown in Atlanta two weeks ago.
Valdosta has also been affected by the gas shortages, although not as expensive as Atlanta, they have jumped up a few cents too.
“My dad told me to drive the 20 minutes to Florida to fill up on gas,” Rachel Santagato, junior, said. “It’s just too expensive up here.”
Luckily, there have been other means provided for customers to know which gas station they should use. The GasBuddy app is a way for people to track the availability of gas in their area.
They have activated the tracker to work in a least six states, including Georgia, which provides a better and more efficient way of motorist getting gas.
For people who would like to still discuss this crisis at hand, the Philosophy and Religious Studies Club and the Native American Club and S.A.V.E are hosting a panel of discussion to talk about the “pipeline controversy” in South Georgia and Florida.
The meeting is September 28 at 7 p.m. at the University Center in the Cypress Room.