A statement from the office of Gov. Mike Easley today announced that Gulf Coast pipelines are operating at normal capacity, though it will take a week for the new fuel to reach North Carolina. Meanwhile, 50 to 100 extra tankers a day continue to come into Western North Carolina and Charlotte to deal with the shortage.
“We are continuing to work with the oil companies as we have been for the last two weeks,” Easley says in the statement. “As a result of the pipeline filling up, the companies are now letting more gas go from their terminals to the gas stations. Tanker trucks are continuing to bring in additional supplies each day while we await return of full flow to the pipeline.”
Easley also praises the conduct of the oil companies during the crisis. Local officials have criticized the speed of the state’s response to the shortage, and state Rep. Charles Thomas took a different tone in remarks last week, asserting “if the big oil companies can’t do a better job of managing their supply, then they are begging us to regulate them.”
Earlier today, Buncombe County Board of Commissioners Chairman Nathan Ramsey told Xpress that “the information-sharing process [with the state and the oil companies] was pretty terrible.” He added that “we notified the state of our concerns on Sep. 11, when the shortages began,” and that “the response time was not where it should be.”
“We’re not quite out of the woods yet,” he said, but noted that the city and county have been intensively planning ways to improve communication and preparations for future shortages.
Last week, Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy also criticized the state’s response, noting that “it’s just disappointing in a day and time like this to see that we all have to bond together to make sure Raleigh knows we exist.”
The full release from the governor’s office is below.
— David Forbes, staff writer
GOV. EASLEY SAYS OIL COMPANIES REPORT PIPELINE IS RETURNING TO NORMAL
Gov. Mike Easley today issued the following update of his conversations with oil companies:
“We are continuing to work with the oil companies as we have been for the last two weeks. These are the important facts.
1 – The pipeline has been up and running at full capacity in the Gulf since Tuesday and that full capacity will arrive in North Carolina next week.
2 – The supply will increase every day.
3 – We are going to continue to bring in 50 to 100 tankers a day to Charlotte and western North Carolina from other locations as we have been doing.
“As a result of the pipeline filling up, the companies are now letting more gas go from their terminals to the gas stations. Tanker trucks are continuing to bring in additional supplies each day while we await return of full flow to the pipeline.
“We will keep working hard every day to get additional gas to Charlotte. The oil companies are now doing everything they can and I am pleased that they have agreed to send in the additional tanker trucks every day.”