Chemical Makers Respond to Katrina

Jack N. Gerard, president and CEO of the American Chemistry Council, said that the number one priority of his members is "caring for the safety and well being of employees impacted by Katrina."

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the millions of Americans in the gulf coast region who have lost their loved ones, homes and livelihoods due to the devastation of hurricane Katrina. It may take months or even years for communities and local economies in the region to recover from this devastating storm," said Gerard.

He noted that ACC companies are committed to protecting the gulf coast environment in the wake of Katrina, adding, "Our companies plan for such contingencies and design facilities to withstand hurricane forces to ensure minimal environmental impact. ll companies either have assessed or are presently assessing the impact on their operations. Based on available information, it appears the integrity of our companies' production facilities has been maintained."

He added that Hurricane Katrina's impact on the production of chemical products near the Gulf of Mexico could prove significant. A number of chemical facilities in the region currently are idle due to high water and lack of power, transportation and feedstocks.

"Since companies that rely on chemical products comprise 25 percent of America's GDP, it is critical for our nation to repair quickly the damage to the gulf coast infrastructure," said Gerard. "Americans already are seeing rapidly rising gasoline prices and likely will experience additional increases in already soaring natural gas prices in the wake of Katrina. America's chemical makers are particularly impacted by price increases for natural gas, which provides both power and raw materials for the products of modern chemistry. Katrina's aftermath painfully underscores the need for conservation, improvements in the nation's energy infrastructure and access to America's own natural gas resources."

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