Democratic News

Sen. Jeff Bingaman and Sen. Pete Domenici are visiting Louisiana and Texas to assess damage to energy infrastructure caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  Sen. Domenici is chairman of the Senate Energy Committee and Sen. Bingaman is the committee’s ranking member.  Committee members Daniel Akaka (D-HI) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA) also are on the trip.  All return to D.C. tomorrow.

Yesterday, the lawmakers were in Texas for briefings on industry recovery efforts.  Today they toured an ExxonMobil refinery near Baton Rouge and Colonial Pipeline facilities.  Later they will visit downtown New Orleans, including the 17th Street Canal, 9th Ward, and Hydrogen Plant.  Sen. Domenici also plans to visit an Entergy electric power plant in Baton Rouge

“The back-to-back hurricanes which hit the Gulf Coast caused a massive disruption to our nation’s energy system.   Our reason for visiting is to get a better handle on how bad things are, how long it’s going to take to fix, and what Congress can do to better prepare for the shortages and high prices that will hit Americans this winter when heating season arrives,” Bingaman said.

“With soaring gas prices, the nation’s oil supply is at the front of everyone’s mind.  I will be seeing the condition of key energy assets in the Gulf so that we can assess the damage for ourselves.  As chairman of the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, I am also particularly interested in what the Army Corps of Engineers tells us about the state of their facilities in New Orleans,” Domenici added.