Committee Will Consider Impact on Infrastructure, Nation’s Fuel Supplies WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Environment & Public Works Committee, issued the following statement discussing the Committee’s work ahead to address the numerous challenges to infrastructure, energy resources and the environment left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina: “Over the next few months, we will obviously be looking at what worked best and what failed in terms of infrastructure along the Gulf Coast,” Senator Inhofe said. “We’ll need to have discussions about the kinds of short- and long-term improvements that will be needed. Passage of the Water Resources Development Act, for example, should figure greatly in the mix of legislative remedies. Our WRDA legislation contains provisions that can help solve some of the challenges in and around New Orleans and address coastal erosion. “We must also consider Katrina’s impact on the nation’s fuel supplies. Before Katrina struck, our nation’s refineries were already nearing peak capacity. The swift action by the Administration in waiving fuel requirements nationally will help stabilize supplies in the short-term. We will examine whether anything else needs to be done in the short-term or long-term to ensure an adequate fuel supply. It is my intention for the Environment and Public Works Committee to hold a hearing next week to discuss Katrina’s impact on our energy supplies as the country faces rising fuel prices and the potential for some shortages. First and foremost is the safety of Gulf Coast residents and the well-being of area evacuees. It is heartening to see so many states, cities, communities and individual Americans reach out and embrace the victims of Katrina. Our nation is proving its resiliency. Once the situation along the Gulf Coast has stabilized and the pertinent agencies, such as the Army Corps of Engineers, are comfortable with making representatives available, the EPW committee will begin to review the effects of Katrina on infrastructure and what needs to be done to rebuild and improve the systems of pumps, levees, waterways and the like.”