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The Daily Planet's Opinion: Tighten up pipeline’s cyber-security; other oil options appear far-fetched
Tuesday, 01 June 2021 16:35

The recent Colonial Pipeline shutdown hit North Carolina harder than any other state — and Western North Carolina (particularly the Asheville metro area) appeared to have been hit the hardest in the Tar Heel state, according to GasBuddy.com and other groups that track gas consumption and availability.

In a broader view, the United States faces “the problem of the entire East Coast relying on a single, vulnerable pipeline for so much of its fuel,” Liam Denning noted in a May 18 column for Bloomberg Opinion. And “the East Coast, in general, relies on it enormously.”

Denning added “East Coast demand for oil peaked in 2005 (on an annual basis), and refineries there have struggled to compete: capacity has fallen by more than half over the past 15 years,” Therefore, he makes the case that, “much like anything else, we like our energy to be as cheap as possible. Redundancy costs extra.” Denning doubts drivers would be willing to pay “extra” for their gas to have redundant pipelines that may never have to be used. 

He instead favors focusing on tightening cyper-security at Colonial Pipeline, as well as the American power grid, in general, and other key energy sources that keep our society running.

We also — very much — like that Denning fired a well-deserved verbal jab at U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, who archly commented after the pipeline went down  that, “if you drive an electric car, this would not be affecting you, clearly.” 

Responding to Granholm’s assertion, Denning wrote, sarcastically, “Because power grids never go down, obviously. The ultimate goal of electrifying transport is crucial in addressing climate change. But let’s pretend power grids aren’t also giant, vulnerable networks,” too.

Also, we detested that Colonial paid the hackers (a group called DarkSide) a ransom of $4.4 million in cryptocurrency for the software decryption key required to unscramble its data network (as it just encourages other hackers), but we are glad it got the pipeline flowing again.

 



 


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