Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and EPA Administrator Michael Regan addressed concerns over the shutdown of the 5,500 mile Colonial Pipeline that has led to fuel shortages on the east coast.
Buttigieg linked both the Texas electric grid failure, which was a result of a weather incident, and the Colonial Pipeline shutdown, which was the result of a cyberattack from a hacking group based in Russia. These, he said, were "two major wake-up call experiences." He said that the US needs to be more resilient in both cases.
Buttigieg took questions on the fact that 1 in 10 gas stations in DC are out of gas, that consumer protection agencies have told people not to store gas in plastic bags. "Is the Biden administration having any preliminary discussions about potentially taking over the pipeline to restore the flow if the company is unable to do it themselves?"
"I haven't heard anything along those lines," Buttigieg said, before saying that the administration is working closely with Colonial to get the pipeline back online. He said that Colonial has been able to move gas through Line 4.
Buttigieg said that consumers should definitely not fill up plastic bags, or any unauthorized container, with gasoline, and to not start hoarding fuel.
Buttigieg said that the administration is working "around the clock" to get the pipeline back online and to remediate shortages.
Buttigieg also said that there is some difficulty in working with private companies and localities to sort out energy needs, and to deal with crises when they emerge.
When asked about the increased gas prices, he said that he's been "working with every lever of government that's available."
The White House shifted gears, and said that there are supply shortages in fuel, though on Monday they said that was not the case.
Jen Psaki would not address whether or not Colonial had paid the demanded ransom to the hacking group that led the cyberattack, saying that "this is a private sector company and I would refer you to them."