President Joe Biden, now faced with a crisis of gas shortages across large swaths of the East Coast, promised voters there would be no "new pipelines" if he was elected.
"So like what about, say, stopping fracking and stopping new pipeline infrastructure?" an audience member asked Biden following a January 2020 campaign event in New Hampshire. "Yeah. Yes. New pipelines. Exactly. None," Biden responded.
The Democrat is now facing a fuel shortage crisis and rising gas prices after a cyberattack shut down the United States' largest pipeline. Energy secretary Jennifer Granholm on Tuesday cast doubt on the administration's ability to send gas into the affected areas via train, noting that pipelines are the best way to transport fuel.
"These are not easy solutions," Granholm said. "The pipe is the best way to go."
Biden canceled the Keystone XL pipeline by executive order in one of his first acts as president. State Democrats have echoed the disdain for new pipeline projects in recent weeks—in Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is threatening a profit seizure should a top energy company continue to operate a pipeline in the Great Lakes region past a state-imposed deadline.
Virginia Democratic governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency Tuesday over fuel shortages in Virginia, just months after two local utility companies announced the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline—which would have served the state—following environmental lawsuits. One Richmond-based gas station charged $6.99 per gallon of gasoline hours after Northam's declaration. New York also blocked two new pipeline projects in 2020.
In addition to Virginia, seven other states are experiencing fuel shortages: Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. The pain has been felt acutely in Charlotte, N.C., where 71 percent of gas stations were out of fuel as of Wednesday, according to Gasbuddy.
On Wednesday, the national average for a gallon of gasoline passed $3 for the first time since 2014.