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News In Brief
An in-depth look at our region's emerging economic, social, political and cultural identity.

Gas Prices Rise After Pipeline Breaks; Poll Shows Opposition to HB 2

Gas prices are slightly higher in the Carolinas and other Southeastern states this week after a massive leak in a gas pipeline in Alabama. Colonial Pipeline says it’s building a temporary pipeline around the spill to restore the flow. But with gas shipments interrupted, prices are going up.

AAA Carolinas says the average gas price statewide is now $2.16, up from $2.05 a week ago. In South Carolina, the average rose from $1.91 to $2.04. 

Attorney General Roy Cooper says his office is investigating complaints of price gouging. About 400 had come in as of this morning. He’s asking consumers to be on the lookout for unreasonably high prices and to report them to the state’s consumer hotline.

Several governors across the Southeast have issued executive orders to speed up shipments and limit economic damage from the spill.

N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory says the state is working with fuel suppliers to monitor and quickly replenish gasoline supplies. He said Sunday normal supplies should resume soon.

City officials said they’re monitoring the city’s fuel supply after the spill. As of Monday, they said reserves were enough to prevent any immediate effect on city services.

The website GasBuddy.com said the pipeline shutdown could be the worst disruption since Superstorm Sandy in 2012.  Analyst Patrick DeHaan said the temporary work-around may not be enough.

“While gasoline prices have drifted lower in parts of the country, it's impossible to ignore the elephant in the room: One of the largest gasoline pipelines in the country is out of service and a Band-Aid is not going to fix the problems in the Southeast as a result," DeHaan said.

ELON POLL SHOWS HB2 OPPONENTS OUTNUMBER SUPPORTERS

A new poll in North Carolina says more likely voters oppose House Bill 2 than support it. A strong majority think the state law limiting anti-discrimination protections for LBGT people has hurt the state.

The Elon University Poll released Monday found nearly 50 percent of those surveyed last week opposed HB 2, compared to almost 40 percent who support it. The rest didn't know or were undecided.

Close to 60 percent said the law has damaged North Carolina's reputation, compared to 11 percent who believe the law has improved it.

The law has prompted entertainers and sports associations including the NCAA and Atlantic Coast Conference to cancel events in the state.  The poll also found that women and blacks oppose House Bill 2 more than men and whites.

The Elon poll of 644 likely voters has a margin of sampling error of 3.9 percentage points.

CITY COUNCIL WON’T VOTE ON ORDINANCE REPEAL

Charlotte’s city council agenda Monday night won’t include discussion of HB 2 or repealing LGBT protections in the city’s human rights ordinance. State Republican leaders had offered to repeal HB 2 if the city council repealed its rules first. The mayor and some city council members called on the General Assembly to repeal the law without city action.

The Charlotte Chamber says it’s disappointed that the council doesn’t plan to vote on the compromise. It also called on the General Assembly to repeal HB 2.

MAN SHOT TO DEATH ON BROOKSHIRE BLVD.

Authorities say a Charlotte police officer who thought he was checking on a wreck early yesterday instead found one man dead and a second hurt in a shooting. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said the officer spotted the wreck around 6 a.m. on Brookshire Boulevard near Interstate 85. But authorities say when the officer got out of his cruiser, he saw a man with a gunshot wound to the arm standing near the vehicle with a second man dead inside the car. 

BURR, ROSS TO DEBATE OCT. 13

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr and his Democratic challenger Deborah Ross will take part in a televised debate next month. The hour-long debate will be Oct. 13 at the UNC-TV studios in Research Triangle Park. It’s being hosted by the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters Educational Foundation. It will be broadcast live to TV and radio stations across the state.

COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON ADDS METEOROLOGY

In a state where the weather ranges from snow and ice storms to coastal flooding and hurricanes, South Carolina students can finally get a college degree in meteorology. The College of Charleston has won approval to offer the major this year. It's the first college in the state to offer the degree.