Biden Pledges Ongoing Federal Aid for Hurricane Ida Recovery
(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden promised continued federal support for Louisiana as it recovers from Hurricane Ida and also pledged assistance for the New York area, after the storm’s remnants caused widespread flooding in the region.
“We’re all in this together,” Biden said Thursday at the White House. “The nation is here to help.”
On Friday, Biden is scheduled will to visit Louisiana, where hundreds of thousands of residents are still without power and some may have to wait weeks to see it restored. The damage in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania is still being assessed from the tornadoes, thunderstorms and torrential rain that ripped through the area late Wednesday and early Thursday.
As a result of the storm, Biden said on Thursday that he directed his administration to take steps to increase the availability of gasoline to ease pressure on prices at the pump.
“I’ve directed the secretary of energy, Jennifer Granholm, to use all of the tools at her disposal, including using the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, to keep gas flowing in order to critical supplies to the region,” Biden said.
Louisiana refineries represent nearly one-fifth of the country’s crude-processing capacity. Many fuel producers shut their plants there as Hurricane Ida roared ashore, leaving supplies pinched. And widespread damage to the electricity grid has cut off their power.
Ida smashed into Louisiana on Sunday with record 150-mile-per-hour (241 kilometer) winds, leaving more than 1 million customers across the South, including New Orleans, without power and killing several people. Officials are now concerned about restoring power and cell phone service to avoid further casualties and also combating food and gas shortages.
“Global warming is upon us and it’s going to get worse and worse and worse unless we do something about it,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday as he discussed the storm’s damage to his home state of New York. Linking the storm’s impact to Democrats’ legislative agenda, he added, “that’s why it’s so imperative to pass the two bills: the infrastructure bill and the reconciliation bill.”
More than 1,400 employees from the FEMA have deployed in the South in response to the hurricane. The U.S. Army Corps is also helping, including with efforts to return power and access damage in the storm wracked area. The Transportation Department has waived hours of service requirements for truckers hauling shipments of fuel and other supplies.
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