DOE Sets Up Energy Emergency Task Force

Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham has created an energy emergency task force within the Department of Energy (DOE) that will work in cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) to deal with blackouts and other energy emergencies this summer in California and elsewhere in the nation.

"Given the magnitude of the energy challenges we could face this summer, I am creating the...task force and providing clear lines of authority to ensure we are fully prepared to work with FEMA and other federal, state and local authorities to meet these challenges," he said. The task force, which will report directly to Abraham, will be headed by retired Air Force Major Gen. John McBroom, DOE's current director of emergency operations.

Abraham said he set up the task force following an agency-wide review that found "the department was not well-structured to respond quickly and effectively to the kinds of challenges posed by blackouts and threats to the nation's energy infrastructure."

Task force members are already preparing for a possible energy emergency this summer in California, have consulted with FEMA officials about their plans and have participated in a workshop with state, utility, industry and California Independent System Operator officials to discuss contingency operations for the state, he noted.

Abraham said he has directed the task force to have its initial plans for the summer developed by May 15.

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