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September 15, 2008
12:05 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Secretary Chertoff, for your briefing -- you just came back from Houston; Administrator Paulison. The briefing, of course, was on the damage done to Texas and Louisiana, a result of Ike.
We obviously watch this recovery very carefully, because the federal government is playing a crucial role in helping the people of the devastated areas recover. We're working closely with the state and local authorities on a variety of subjects.
Recently I was informed that there are going to be a -- numerous points of distribution for food, water and ice throughout Harris County to help the people there adjust. Obviously until electricity is fully restored, people are going to need help with water, food and ice.
There's some good news on electricity. Electricity is beginning to be restored. Obviously there's a lot more houses and folks that are waiting for electricity, but people are working hard; there's crews coming in from around the country to help.
The energy situation is one that's of concern. Our drivers are -- folks probably going to have to expect some upward pressure on price because the storm disrupted the supply of gasoline as a result of shutting down refineries and pipelines. Now, two -- the two major pipelines are up and running, which is positive news, and it happened quicker than we thought it would happen. Yet until those refineries get up and running full blast, those pipelines are going to be looking for product.
And so there's going to be a pinch. I wish it wasn't the case, but it is. On the other hand, if the pinch is too hard, if people think they're being treated unfairly, they need to get on the Department of Energy website, because there's -- or the FTC website -- and make their complaints known.
The storm was -- damaged a lot of infrastructure, but truthfully it was not as bad as some predicted that it would be on the energy sector.
I'm going down tomorrow. I'm looking forward to going down. Members of my administration will be going down. We're looking forward to hearing from, you know, the local folks. I'm confident there will be people that are very frustrated because their lives have been severely affected by this storm. My message will be that we hear you and we'll work as hard and fast as we can to help you get your lives back up to normal.
END 12:08 P.M. EDT