The aftermath of the catastrophic cyber-attack on the Colonial pipeline by the Darkside criminal hacker group once again highlights how dependent the U.S. economic and social system is on its pipelines. America’s enemies know this, and the chaos of the last few days of fuel shortages was perhaps just a taste of what can happen if we do not begin to value and protect the nation’s oil and fuel transportation system.
Virtually all of the food and products that reach supermarket shelves are transported by truck to be distributed throughout the vast U.S. territory. When just one of the pipelines goes down, a lot of trucks come to a standstill, and total shortages can take just a few days to arrive. What follows can be a true social crisis unprecedented in national history.
The enemies of freedom and capitalism now understand that the United States can be completely paralyzed by eliminating just a handful of pipelines.
The shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline caused a frenzied wave along the East Coast, affecting 17 states and triggering shopping stampedes for fear of shortages. The problem was finally solved after days, but what would have happened if the shutdown had lasted longer or if the attack had affected other pipelines as well?
The impact of the Colonial Pipeline shutdown was quickly reflected in all the gas stations in the affected areas, with countless motorists scrambling to fill up their tanks.
But if something were to cause gasoline to stop flowing for a longer period, not filling up our vehicles would be one of our lesser problems. Trucks also need gasoline, and if our trucks were to stop running for an extended period, virtually every sector of our society would come to a standstill.
The U.S. population spread out over a vast territory can only be supplied by the thousands of trucks that ply the roads 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
Before what happened this week, most Americans had not even imagined a scenario where all the trucks would suddenly stop running, but the cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline has exposed just how vulnerable our infrastructure is.
Given this situation, it begs whether the Biden administration is giving the issue enough thought and is taking steps to prevent future attacks.
The first concern is that the energy policies implemented by Joe Biden since the beginning of his presidency have gone against the traditional energy system, directly affecting the pipelines and the entire industry surrounding them.
So much so, Biden canceled the Keystone XL pipeline construction project in one of his first measures. He also announced an indefinite moratorium on new oil and natural gas leases on federal lands and waters, destroying one of the federal government’s most significant sources of revenue.
According to the American Petroleum Institute, there are more than 190,000 miles of pipelines transporting liquid petroleum in the United States, connecting production areas to refineries and chemical plants from which fuels needed by U.S. consumers and businesses are delivered.
War no longer necessarily manifests itself in missiles knocking down buildings or the military invading the border with weapons. A group of people behind a computer can very easily generate widespread shortages, famine, and consequently widespread chaos. The United States had a strong wake-up call. Now the White House authorities will have to demonstrate how committed they are to the homeland and the safety of their citizens.