Chris John: Industry plans stronger after hurricanes, disasters


06 14, 2015 by Daily Advertiser

Ten years ago, hurricanes Katrina and Rita ravaged all of south Louisiana. Hurricanes Gustav and Ike followed just three years later. I want to again express my sorrow for the people of Acadiana who suffered losses and still feel the effects of these disasters today.

So much has changed since these events. The Department of Natural Resources has created a “fuel team” to better coordinate fuel supplies prior to, during and after an emergency. Yet, there are still encumbrances by Federal laws and EPA rules.

The Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Agriculture and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness have developed emergency orders that allow industry to react quickly to these events and handle the federal obstacles. Louisiana has greatly improved its disaster preparation and response capabilities.

Unfortunately, it is that time of year again. Although it is predicted to be a slow storm year, one must always remember that hurricanes Andrew and Betsy were in slow years. As a matter of fact, we have already had the year’s first storm well before the season started. All it takes is one storm. And as we recently learned in Hurricane Isaac, a small storm can wreak much havoc; and havoc to you is havoc to the oil and gas industry’s employees and their families, too. We are all in this together.

So it is time for homes and businesses to make a game plan. If you are concerned about the vulnerability of your location, contact your parish emergency contact now. To find your parish’s contact, visit: gohsep.la.gov/OEPDIRList.

It is better to plan than to react. The Fuel Team met last week to discuss potential issues going into this hurricane season and industry holds regular planning meetings with other local, state and federal agencies before, during and after hurricane season. It’s imperative that Louisiana’s families and businesses prepare early too.

Although the fuel team didn’t exist prior to hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and much has changed in 10 years, preparation and planning by the public is still critical to the overall response to any disaster.

Here’s hoping for a slow tropical storm season for us all.

— Chris John, former congressman, is president of the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association.

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