Department of the Interior

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September 14, 2005
(202) 208-6416
Secretary Norton Surveys Gulf Coast, Images of Katrina Aftermath at

WASHINGTON, DC - Digital images recorded this week by Interior Secretary Gale Norton during her tour of Gulf energy production facilities and the New
Orleans area are now available in an online photo gallery at ,
the Department's official website. Secretary Norton joined Energy Secretary
Samuel Bodman and Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta in a tour of the
Gulf Coast region devastated by Hurricane Katrina on Tuesday.

During her tour Secretary Norton expressed compassion for the people left
homeless by the storm; thanked local, state and federal workers for their
ongoing recovery efforts and said progress has been made in restoring Gulf
energy production.

"This has been a devastating experience for residents of the Gulf Coast
Region and our hearts and prayers go out to them," Norton said. "We are
determined to do all we can to support and work with local and state
officials in this massive recovery campaign."

Secretary Norton visited Gulf Coast energy installations and met with
private sector energy officials, thanking local energy workers for
restoring critical pipelines and other facilities.

Norton said the joint Interior, Energy and Transportation visit reflected
the interrelatedness of energy production - from offshore platforms to
onshore refineries and pipelines. "Both public and private sectors have
been working to get the energy sector back up despite the devastation of
lost homes and displaced families. It is a credit to them that the
environment has been protected with no significant oil spills coming from
the offshore wells," Norton said Tuesday.

"We have restored a large share of that production capability but we must
complete additional damage assessments, facility inspections and
infrastructure repairs to return our production to pre-Katrina levels,"
Norton said. "We have seen the challenges that are being posed by damaged
roads and port facilities. In order to transport employees and supplies to
get these systems up and running, we are working to find ways around
obstacles. I can't emphasize enough the terrific efforts made by
individuals to come up with solutions when their personal world is in
ruins. It is a credit to preparedness that some 25,000 offshore workers
were evacuated and that the environment has been protected."

On Monday, Norton commended employees of Interior's Minerals Management
Service, who have relocated their regional headquarters from New Orleans to
Houston, Texas, and have been working with energy companies to help restore
Gulf oil and gas production shut down by the storm.

"MMS employees, many of whom have lost their homes and possessions, have
been especially dedicated, carrying on their public service under the most
difficult conditions," Norton said. "As an MMS employee at the Houston
meeting wrote on a message board in the chaos of their temporary offices,
'You don't have e-mail -- get over it. I don't have a house.' "

Norton thanked Interior employees for their commitment and efforts. "More
than 1,400 Interior employees are working with local and state agencies to
rescue residents trapped by the storm, provide food, water and shelter and
assist with the recovery efforts throughout the region," Norton said.
Interior efforts to respond to the catastrophe include the following
ongoing assistance:

  The slideshow of digital photographs recorded Tuesday by Secretary Norton
  during her tour of the region is available for viewing on