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President Bush Is Taking Immediate Action To Address Energy Challenges And Carefully Monitor Fuel Prices Following The Storms
On September 15, 2008, President Bush discussed Federal actions his Administration is taking to increase fuel supply in the aftermath of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. These storms have disrupted our energy sources, and the Federal government is leading the effort to minimize the impact on American families. This recovery effort will take time, but the Administration is acting quickly to help the millions of residents in Texas and Louisiana who have been affected by Hurricane Ike. We are coordinating with State and local governments to help restore power, remove debris, and get water and sewage plants back up and running. Tomorrow, President Bush will visit Texas to support the rebuilding and recovery efforts following the storms.
President Bush Has Directed His Administration To Take The Necessary Steps To Ensure An Adequate Supply Of Energy
The Energy Department stands ready to release crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) when and where it is necessary to ensure refineries are capable of maintaining operations. In the wake of Hurricane Gustav, Secretary Bodman released crude oil from the SPR. This oil was released at the request of two companies – Marathon Petroleum Company (500,000 barrels total; two deliveries of 250,000 each) and Placid Oil (130,000 barrels total). To date, these three deliveries of emergency exchange SPR oil are complete. Yesterday, the Energy Department approved the release of an additional 309,000 barrels of crude oil to two companies – ConocoPhillips (200,000 barrels total) and Placid Oil (109,000 barrels).
The Minerals Management Service (MMS) is working with the energy industry and U.S. Coast Guard to obtain data from airplane overflights and MMS helicopter overflights. Following initial assessments, industry personnel are able to return to drilling rigs and production platforms for more detailed assessment, for repair, or to restart operations.
The Energy Department has deployed personnel to assist with local power companies, local authorities, and State authorities to help get electricity functioning and to ensure the repair and continuity of oil and gas pipelines and enable refineries to restart.
The EPA has waived certain fuel requirements in order to make it easier to use the supplies we have domestically and increase flexibility in what we can import. This waives requirements for gasoline sold or distributed in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, part of Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
The Federal Government Is Carefully Monitoring Fuel Prices To Make Certain American Consumers Are Treated Fairly At The Pump
The Energy Department has opened its price gouging hotline (1-800-224-3301) and its web site (gaswatch.energy.gov) for consumers. The Energy Information Agency is tracking inventories and prices on a regional basis, comparing those figures with past data, and sharing the results with the Energy Department, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and States in the region.
The FTC is monitoring gasoline prices and intensifying its scrutiny, especially in the affected area. The FTC has also posted a new consumer alert on its web site (www.ftc.gov) to draw attention to its educational materials on how to be smart buyers of gasoline and how to avoid scams that seek to exploit victims of natural disasters.
The Federal Government Is Taking Coordinated Action To Provide Open Channels Of Transportation For Energy Supplies
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Coast Guard worked together to reopen the Port of Pascagoula, Mississippi, to vessel traffic. Oil tankers are currently limited to a 30-foot depth, but draft limitations are expected to be increased to 36 feet in the near future.
The Coast Guard is working to repair the Aids to Navigation – lighted structures, beacons, day markers, range lights, fog signals, landmarks, or floating buoys used to help boaters plan trips and safely navigate waterways – located in the Houston Ship Channel that have been damaged or destroyed by the storms. The Coast Guard is working to reopen the Houston Ship Channel in time to meet the crude oil needs of the refineries once they are operating again.
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