The Latest: House Democrats seek probe of pipeline company

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Posted: Nov 02, 2016 12:41 PM
The Latest: House Democrats seek probe of pipeline company

HELENA, Ala. (AP) — The Latest on Alabama pipeline explosion and possible gasoline shortages (all times local):

11:35 a.m.

U.S. House Democrats are asking for an investigation of Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline Co. following a fatal pipeline explosion in Alabama.

Five ranking members of panels dealing with energy, transportation, infrastructure, pipelines and investigations released a letter to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on Wednesday seeking the review.

They cite the deadly explosion earlier this week near Birmingham, Alabama, and a large spill that happened in September just a few miles away. They also mention smaller spills in 2015 in North Carolina and Virginia.

A statement by Colonial says it takes accidents seriously and is already cooperating with investigators.

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11:10 a.m.

A fire is still burning at a gasoline pipeline in Alabama nearly two days after an explosion killed a worker and injured five others.

Officials with the Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline Co. say the flame at the accident site southwest of Birmingham, Alabama, is significantly smaller than it had been.

But the fact that the fire is still burning means fuel is still available. The company has said as much as 168,000 gallons of gasoline could have burned, spilled, evaporated or remained in the pipeline following the blast Monday afternoon. The pipeline supplies gasoline to the Southeast.

Officials say they hope to repair the pipeline as early as this weekend to avoid a possible gas crunch. But repairs can't begin until the fire is out and the area cools down.

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10:15 a.m.

Georgia's governor says state residents shouldn't overreact to the chance of gasoline shortages after an explosion shut down a pipeline supplying the Southeast.

Gov. Nathan Deal on Wednesday urged people to stick with normal fuel usage rather than stocking up and causing a spike in demand.

A September leak on the same pipeline caused stations to run dry and increased prices in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas.

Deal says he's hopeful that Colonial Pipeline will respond quickly and minimize any issues. Company officials have said their goal is to restart the line as early as this weekend.

Deal on Tuesday issued an executive order lifting restrictions on the number of hours that commercial truck drivers delivering fuel can work. The order also triggered Georgia's prohibition on price gouging.

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1:07 a.m.

Executives at a pipeline company say their goal is to restart the line as early as this weekend after an explosion and fire shut down gasoline shipments to millions across the South.

The deadly explosion sparked a geyser of fire Monday and closed off the vital pipeline, raising fears of another round of gas shortages and price increases. It's Colonial Pipeline's second accident and shutdown in two months.

Continuing fires in the drought-stricken area of central Alabama hampered officials' efforts to fully assess the damage Tuesday afternoon, and firefighters built an earthen berm to contain the burning fuel.

The Georgia-based company says the accident happened when a dirt-moving track hoe struck the pipeline, ignited gasoline and sparked a blast, killing one worker and injuring five others.