Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman today released the following statement:
"First of all, on behalf of myself and the entire Department of Energy family, I wish to extend our thoughts and prayers to those people affected by this terrible storm.
As with any natural disaster, the first priority is human health and safety. Restoring electricity and fuel, and doing so safely, is a priority. We began working with the Federal Energy Management Agency, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and other sister agencies on contingency planning before the storm came ashore, and we will work with state and local authorities to assist with the restoration of normal energy services.
Looking at the broader impacts on the nation, we are mindful that the affected region contributes a significant amount of our oil, gas, and refined product supply. As we assess damage, we will take the appropriate response.
The administration has been clear that the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is a national security asset that can be used to protect American consumers and our economy in the event of a major supply disruption, including natural disasters.
Beginning last week, we have been in close contact with our federal partners, site managers at various locations of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and companies that operate oil refineries to prepare for any disruption in oil production.
As we experienced with Hurricane Ivan in 2004, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve can be used to lend petroleum to refineries if they experience shortages and are therefore unable to maintain their production. Should circumstances warrant, the President also can direct that petroleum be withdrawn from the SPR and sold.
Over the next few days, we will continue to gain more information on the specific needs and then be able to make a better determination on how we can help."
Craig Stevens, 202/586-4940