Analysis: Katrina’s aftermath: chilly, blustery oil politics

In a matter of days, Hurricane Katrina made energy a political issue again.Beyond its immediate damage and the flooding that followed, the storm closed several Gulf Coast refineries and two major pipeline systems-Colonial Pipeline Co. and Plantation Pipe Line Co.-which move petroleum products to most markets east of the Mississippi River.Wholesalers and retailers responded by raising prices at the pump to their replacement level-the estimated cost of replenishing inventories. It was enough to make US House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton sound more like a Massachusetts Democrat than a Texas Republican.“I think a very good case can be made that some retailers have t...

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