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Bush lifts restrictions on imported fuel due to Ike PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 15 September 2008

AFP, WASHINGTON  - US President George W. Bush announced on Saturday restrictions on imported gasoline had been suspended in response to Hurricane Ike which had forced companies to abandon oil refineries along the Texas coast.

"Last night we suspended EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) waivers on certain reformulated gasoline, which will make it easier for imports from abroad to make it into our markets," Bush told reporters outside the White House as the powerful hurricane caused massive flooding in the two states.
 
"In the meantime, the Department of Energy, the Federal Trade Commission and I know state authorities will be monitoring the gasoline prices to make sure consumers are not being gouged, to make sure consumers are being treated fairly," Bush said.
 
The US president said he been informed by top officials of government efforts to help the plight of storm-hit areas and that he had asked Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to travel to the region as soon as weather conditions permit.
 
"Obviously, this is a huge storm. It is causing a lot of damage. Not only in Texas but also in parts of Louisiana," Bush said.
 
With the storm knocking out power over a wide area, Bush said the government would deploy generators to help restore power.
 
"We have generators in place."
 
Massive damage and flooding was reported throughout the region as the center of Ike made landfall at Galveston Island at about 0710 GMT, 25 kilometers (15 miles) southeast of Houston.
 
The storm forced oil companies to abandon 13 refineries representing a combined capacity of 3.7 million barrels of crude oil per day -- a fifth of US refinery capacity.
 
Several offshore rigs and platforms were also evacuated ahead of the storm, which Chertoff on Friday said could produce "catastrophic effects."

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