September 2, 2005 E-Newsletter: Hurricane Katrina
Like all Americans I am horrified by the images of devastation in New Orleans and Mississippi. Our deepest thoughts and sympathies go out to the victims of Hurricane Katrina who have lost their homes and loved ones in this terrible disaster.
In the face of this disaster, we must stand united in providing help to those people in need. Congress has approved two hurricane relief packages totaling over $63 billion, and I was pleased to support those bills. More federal resources will be needed, and I stand ready to support whatever is needed to rebuild and restore these communities. Additionally, I encourage every Coloradan to reach into their hearts and their wallets and to give whatever they can to help the residents of the Gulf Coast region. Citizens can go to my website at www.house.gov/markudall for information on how you can help.
We must learn from the mistakes that were made in responding to Hurricane Katrina. I have written a letter to Gov. Bill Owens asking for an Emergency Response Summit for the State of Colorado. I believe a summit with state officials, the Colorado congressional delegation, representatives of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and federal emergency response agencies to explore our state's plans for large-scale disaster response would be an effective way to reassure Colorado's citizens that our preparedness is receiving necessary resources and support. A summit on Colorado's preparedness would also provide an important forum for mayors, police, fire and local government to express their concerns and identify potential needs for upgrading resources, materials and plans to meet catastrophic emergencies in Colorado.
This summit would give state and federal officials the opportunity to identify and properly address Colorado's equivalent of levees that did not hold in New Orleans and to the extent possible, discuss them in a forum where there is public accountability. Colorado should implement a plan to ensure that the most vulnerable communities, especially low-income areas, are included in any disaster preparedness plan. I think Coloradans may rightfully wonder whether we are turning every stone at the federal and state levels to plan and provide support for the worst-case scenarios.
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On another note, Katrina has affected gas prices. The President has called on Americans to reduce unnecessary consumption of oil and gas and has indicated that any problems associated with energy production caused by Hurricane Katrina are being addressed.' I believe the President should call the leaders of American oil companies into the Oval office and make a case for their patriotic sacrifice in this time of crisis. With so many communities in the Gulf region brought down by this hurricane, it is unconceivable for any one to profit from these losses.
I know that with the help and determination of the American people, we will overcome and learn from this tremendous challenge, and once again, the good times will roll in New Orleans.
Congressman Mark Udall
Serving Colorado's Front Range and Western Slope