Biden Says Ready to Use Strategic US Petroleum Reserve to Help Areas Hit by Hurricane Ida
16:51 GMT 02.09.2021 (Updated: 13:23 GMT 06.08.2022)
The powerful hurricane left over one million people in Louisiana and Mississippi without power and has forced hospitals, packed with COVID patients on ventilators, to rely on backup power, which will not last forever.
US President Joe Biden has vowed to stop at no cost to alleviate fuel shortages in areas hit by Hurricane Ida, up to the point of tapping into the national strategic petroleum reserve. He added that the administration will be doing all in its power to prevent fuel from running out and its prices from soaring.
"We are moving already, quickly, to increase the availability of gas and easing the pressure on gas prices around the country. I have 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 to the pumps", POTUS said.
Among the additional measures proposed by the president is a temporary relaxation of some regulations, such as the number of hours that a fuel truck driver can be behind the wheel to move gasoline, food, and medical supplies to the affected areas.
2 September 2021, 16:00 GMT
At least 36 people died due to the hurricane, with Biden reporting 11 casualties in New York and New Jersey from the record-strong flood caused by the weakening Ida. The natural disaster also left large areas and over one million people without power due to downed lines.
The power outages themselves pose a danger to lives since hospitals need electricity to run medical equipment, including thousands of ventilators keeping numerous COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms alive. Currently, they are relying on backup generators running on fuel.