State Department of Natural Resources Secretary Scott Angelle, acting as Gov. Bobby Jindal's point man with the energy industry in the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav, has helped coordinate a fund-raising effort among the Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association and the Louisiana Chemical Association to get generators to gas stations.
"The perrenial problem is continuing to be power," says Mid-Continent's Chris John. "We've got to get power to these service stations. We've got fuel; we just have to have power to get it into people's tanks."
Angelle's initial request was an appeal to the groups to solicit funds so that DNR could purchase the generators, but potential legal issues surrounding donations to a state agency prompted Mid-Continent to create a 501-C3, says John. "That's the avenue we are pursuing," he says, noting that the state has already purchased 400 generators for this cause. While there is no official tally of how much money has been donated to the effort, the trade official notes that both Dow and Exxon have stepped up in a big way, donating $200,000 and $1.5 million, respectively. Dow's donation went straight to DNR, and Exxon's to Capital City United Way and the Red Cross. "DNR can solicit from those agencies," John says.
"When all is said and done, the industy will have donated millions of dollars to the whole hurricane relief effort; part of that is to get these generators deployed," John continues, cautioning that the industry itself is far from out of the woods with Ike entering the Gulf of Mexico tomorrow morning. "We've recovered fairly well from Gustav. We had some anxious times, but all of our refineries are coming back up. The difference between Ike and Gustav is Gustav shut down the eastern side of the Gulf. Ike looks like the entire Gulf [could be affected.]"