Gas is flowing through pipeline again and any shortages should be temporary

Published 7:49 pm Saturday, September 24, 2016

We sit just a few hours from a refinery.

We are a community that has many jobs connected to the oil and gas industry and sadly have felt the hurt of declining oil prices.

But, we are a community on an interstate, and there is no doubt that low gas prices helped spark more travel this past summer, some which made a stop in Vicksburg for fuel, lunch and snacks.

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But, while we are so close, and so connected, we are also connected to the rest of the Southeast, which is feeling the impacts of a massive gas pipeline break in central Alabama.

The break led to near panic in Georgia and nearby states as access to fuel was trimmed.

Gas prices in Georgia spiked, leading many to rush to stations to hoard fuel in whatever vehicle and canister they could find.

Experts told those in the affected areas to simply go along as normal, that panicking would cause more problems and exacerbate the original problem even more.

Those words of caution were heard by a few.

Government leaders had to help watch fuel prices for signs of gouging on the part of station owners and fuel providers.

The affects of that break, the impact to the supply has now made its way to Vicksburg as some gas stations began running out of regular unleaded last week.

And, of course, you heard the comments by some saying how they had filled up all their cars, extra canisters and even their boats to make sure they were covered.

All of this is to say two things:

First, we live in a region that is far more connected than we think and sometimes more than we like. We depend on one another, and the actions that impact one state often have a ripple effect that makes their way to us eventually.

Second, we must protect ourselves from overreaction.

In this case, we are the ones who have led to the shortage, when it was said that simply acting normally, rationally would have not caused major problems. Instead, we did the opposite.

The pipeline repairs are ongoing but a temporary fix has been identified and the normal flow of fuel through the region will get back to normal soon. But what must happen immediately is for us to all calm down, take a deep breath and just act — and drive — normal.