Alabama pipeline spill leads to Georgia gas station closures

ATLANTA — The governor of Georgia said Sunday his office hasn’t received complaints of gas shortages within the state after a pipeline spill in central Alabama but some gas station employees have said they’re out.

Gov. Nathan Deal said through a spokeswoman that he would “act accordingly” if the situation changes.

“As of now … we’ve not received any complaints. If that changes on Monday or at any time in the coming days, the governor’s office will act accordingly,” Deal spokeswoman Jen Ryan said in a statement Sunday.

Some gas stations in Georgia, however, have been without gas as early as Friday.

An employee at a QuickTrip in Alpharetta, gasless since Saturday, said they don’t expect to refill until Wednesday or Thursday.

Ingles Gas Express in Hiawassee turned off their price sign lights in an area where gas is becoming scarce, an employee said.

“We just blanked out our sign,” said an Ingles employee, who did not want to disclose her name. “Other places are getting small shipments. We might get ours by Tuesday, but it’s still up in the air.”

A Shell station in Carrollton is only carrying premium grade, a worker said.

Deal issued an executive order last week to suspend limitations on trucking hours, allowing drivers to stay on the road longer to bring fuel into the state. The order said, however, that no motor carrier “shall require or allow an ill or fatigued driver to operate a motor vehicle.”

Colonial Pipeline announced Saturday it was beginning construction of a temporary pipeline that will bypass a leaking section of its main gasoline pipeline in Shelby County, Alabama.

The company has acknowledged that between 252,000 gallons and 336,000 gallons of gasoline leaked from a pipeline near Helena, Alabama, since the spill was first detected Sept. 9. It’s unclear when the spill actually started.

Deal believes his plan will be an effective one if people maintain normal consumption levels and travel routines.

“We are confident these measures will help ensure Georgians’ uninterrupted access to motor fuel until Alabama’s pipeline is fixed,” Deal said in a statement on his website on Friday.

Fuel supplies in at least five states — Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas — could be compromised by the spill.