Las Vegas In State of Emergency After Crucial Fuel Pipeline Is Shut Down Due to Leak

Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo and Clark County officials both declared states of emergency Friday night after a leak in California led to the shutdown of a crucial pipeline that brings fuel to Las Vegas and the rest of Southern Nevada.

Lines began to form Friday night at a Las Vegas gas station
Lines began to form Friday night at a Las Vegas gas station, pictured above. Officials urge motorists not to rush out to buy gas after a major regional fuel pipeline was shut down due to a leak. (Image: KTNV)

The state of emergency will likely remain in place until repairs are made on the 14-inch, 566-mile CalNev pipeline that stretches from California to Nevada.

The fuel line is operated by Kinder Morgan, a Houston-based energy company. The pipeline provides 90% of the fuel to the Las Vegas Valley, KLAS, a local TV station, reported.

The Kinder Morgan pipeline is one of two pipelines supplying Southern Nevada gas storage facilities with unleaded and diesel fuel. The second one originates in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Kinder Morgan also supplies jet fuel to Nevada. But a company official said Friday that its jet fuel delivery to Las Vegas’ Harry Reid International Airport will not be affected by the pipeline shutdown.

A timeline for the repairs has yet to be announced. “Clark County is in regular communication with Kinder Morgan and they are working as quickly as possible to repair the leak,” Clark County spokesperson Jennifer Cooper said in a Friday statement.

Motorists Should Not Panic

Lombardo urged motorists to avoid “panic buying” and officials are taking steps to find alternative ways to bring fuel to the region.

“To avoid any unnecessary shortages, I strongly urge all Las Vegas residents to avoid panic buying while awaiting repair timeline updates,” Lombardo said in a statement.

Officials claim there are sufficient options to transport fuel into the region so the region will not see shortages.

This leak has not impacted the supply of fuel, but rather the method in which this fuel normally comes into Southern Nevada,” a statement from Clark County said.

To help remedy the temporary situation, Lombardo and Clark County officials requested a short-term waiver from environmental regulations impacting trucking and other delivery methods. Lombardo’s waiver lasts for 15 days unless he renews it later this month.

Leak First Detected on Thursday

The leak was first noticed on Thursday. Approximately 205 gallons of fuel leaked from a Kinder Morgan pipeline at a Long Beach, Calif. facility, the Las Vegas Review-Journal said.

A sign for Kinder Morgan at its Houston headquarters
A sign for Kinder Morgan at its Houston headquarters, pictured above. The company shut down a key pipeline that brings fuel from California to Southern Nevada. (Image: Reuters)

That led the company to shut down the entire pipeline, the Review-Journal reported. The spill was contained. There were no injuries reported.

Fuel supply to Phoenix, Ariz. was also impacted by the leak, according to initial reports.

Lines Start to Form

Despite the pleas from Lombardo not to rush to gas stations, some motorists lined up at Las Vegas gas stations on Friday evening.

There was a line of cars at both a Costco station on Martin Luther King Boulevard and a Sam’s Club station in The Arroyo Market Square, according to the Review-Journal.

Longer lines also were noticeable north of Downtown and west of the 215 freeway, KLAS reported.

Some motorists explained they are not just concerned about the supply of gasoline but also whether the leak will lead to higher prices at the pump.

As of Friday night, there was no word of any impact on casino visitors who chose to drive to gaming properties in and around Las Vegas.

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