By Jack Gallop | May 12, 2021 at 9:27 AM EDT – Updated May 12 at 11:59 AM
SOUTHEASTERN N.C. (WECT) – The shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline has caused panic among some residents in the Cape Fear region.
Towns and the counties in the area have released statements in response to the unusual circumstances. Kure Beach, Burgaw and Pender County each released statements on Tuesday.
In a notice sent to the public, the Town of Burgaw announced that it will, for the most part, continue to operate normally:
“In response to the fuel shortage issue, the Town of Burgaw began Monday evening implementing a plan to conserve fuel while assuring that critical services are not interrupted. The Town will continue most operations, however, those that are fuel intensive, such as, street sweeping and grapple truck operations have been paused. Therefore, please note there will not be any yard debris picked up until the situation is further evaluated. In addition, some town staff will be working remotely. We will continue to monitor the fuel situation and address any needs as they arise. We thank our residents for being patient as we all work through this together.”
The Town of Kure Beach also issued a statement to its residents. David W. Heglar, Emergency Manager, also reiterated that most operations will continue in a normal manner:
“Kure Beach is monitoring the temporary shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline and fuel supply in the area and will ensure critical town and emergency services remain uninterrupted,” Heglar said. “Considering Colonial Pipeline has stated they expect the pipeline to be reopened by the end of the week, there will be no impact to town services at this time. Regular trash collection (Residential Mon/Tue and Commercial) will occur on the normal schedules. Recycling collection is not expected to be impacted. The Town encourages residents to avoid panic purchasing fuel because that drives the shortage, and to conserve fuel by limiting non-essential travel.
“The Town will communicate any changes to service schedules if they are impacted,” said Heglar.
Pender County officials also informed the public that they are monitoring the situation:
“Pender County will ensure the continuity of local government operations,” said George Brown, Chairman of the Pender County Board of County Commissioners. “The fuel disruption may extend through this week, according to our communications with state officials. We have issued a state of emergency and we are proactively addressing county staffing to ensure the safety of Pender County residents.
“Analysts say it will take days for normal conditions to return. Experts advise motorists not to panic purchase or hoard fuel as that will prolong shortages and spikes, making the situation worse. Motorists are asked to purchase only what fuel is immediately needed and to avoid fill the tank until the pipeline resumes operations.”
“As of 5 p.m. today, county leadership has implemented a plan to insure that all emergency and essential employees are able to commute to and from work to serve the County residents, “said Chad McEwen, Pender County Manager. “We are confident this plan will provide for continuity of all emergency departments, including DSS, Health, Utilities, Emergency Management, and the Sheriff’s Office.”
Pender County Schools also released a statement, saying they will operate normally:
“As of Wednesday, May 12, Pender County Schools are open and operating under normal schedule. Pender County Schools is continuing to monitor the ongoing fuel situation taking place across the region and will provide families updates if and when they become necessary. For clarification purposes, fuel shortages do not qualify under COVID guidelines as a reason to close schools.”
Officials in New Hanover County say they have plans in place to ensure that public services will remain uninterrupted as they keep an eye on the fuel shortage situation.
New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Chair Julia Olson-Boseman said she is not issuing a state of emergency at this time since Colonial Pipeline expects operations to fully resume by the end of the week.
“Should the situation change, we may choose to do so,” Olson-Boseman added. “I encourage residents to avoid panic purchasing fuel because that drives the shortage, and to conserve fuel by limiting non-essential outings.”
Similarly in Brunswick County, officials are monitoring the fuel situation and have plans in place to make sure that critical emergency services will continue.
“While Brunswick County does not have control over fuel supply and distribution to our county, our team is monitoring the situation and has already taken steps to conserve its internal fuel supplies to support emergency services, public safety, and critical utility and infrastructure needs as well as possible in the coming days,” the county stated in a news release.
Copyright 2021 WECT. All rights reserved.