Pipeline Disaster Affecting Grand Ledge

Pipeline Disaster Affecting Grand Ledge

Mayah Stone, Staff Writer

On May 7, 2021 the Southeastern United States was shocked when they witnessed a security breach in the Colonial Pipeline. This pipeline is the largest fuel pipeline in the United States and spans almost 5,500 miles and carries millions of gallons of fuel per day. This security breach led to the shut down of fuel delivery between the Gold Coast to the East Coast. It was a ransomware attack in which the hackers gained control of the computer system and demanded money to release it back to the company. 


While the main focus is the Southeastern United States and the areas along the Colonial Pipeline, the cyber attack had a potential and possibly devastating impact on other parts of the country as well. Whereas there may not have been a direct interference with the fuel supply in Michigan, indirectly, panic, fear, and hysteria resulted in changing gas prices. In addition, AAA estimated that the national average of gasoline went above $3 a gallon for the first time since 2014. According to a spokesperson from AAA in Michigan, “gas prices were instead changing due to the perceived threat of a shortage.” 


Furthermore, gas stations in Grand Ledge experienced fluctuating gas prices from the Colonial Pipeline cyber attack. News report after news report, images were shown of huge lines at gas stations. Not only were people filling up their vehicles, they were filling up gas cans for fear of losing the supply of gas. Essentially, everything we do is because of gas. The food we eat is delivered by gas, whether it is a restaurant or a grocery store. Most forms of transportation used require gas. Nearly all of our daily needs require gasoline. 


In conclusion, Grand Ledge is not part of the Colonial Pipeline and therefore was not directly affected by this immense security breach.  However, indirectly due to panic, fear, and hysteria, gas prices fluctuated and increased.  This had a lasting impact on our community. There are several lessons that can be learned from this; security comprehensively needs to be improved to prevent a situation like this from happening again, and to not allow emotions to drive economics.