Thursday, April 18, 2013

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Attorney General Abbott Participates in Briefing, Meets With Emergency Management Personnel Responding to Explosion in West

WEST, TX – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today traveled to West, Texas, where he received a briefing from state and local emergency management authorities who are working to respond to the devastation caused by an explosion at a fertilizer plant last night and participated in a news conference. During the news conference Attorney General Abbott pledged assistance to the Texas Division of Emergency Management, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the City of West and McLennan County and also announced that the governor’s disaster declaration for McLennan County triggers price gouging laws that prohibit businesses from unlawfully charging excessively high prices for goods or services. After meeting with local authorities, Attorney General Abbott joined officers from the Texas Department of Public Safety for an aerial tour of the damage caused by the explosion.

“My thoughts and prayers are with all of those who were affected by last night’s devastating explosion,” Attorney General Abbott said. “I also want to recognize and thank the first responders who put their lives on the line to respond to the explosion and help those in danger. As there is still an active search and rescue effort that is ongoing, we need to continue to pray for the victims, their families and this rural community. The Texas Attorney General’s Office is committed to helping West recover from this devastating tragedy and will continue working closely with the Texas Division of Emergency Management, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the City of West, McLennan County and others to support West during this very difficult situation.”

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Attorney General Abbott participates in West explosion briefing, meets with emergency management personnel and takes a tour of the damage on the ground and from the air.

When Disaster Strikes flyer

Attorney General Abbott added: “In the wake of Governor Perry’s disaster declaration for McLennan County, price gouging prevention laws are triggered that prevent retailers and hotel operators from unlawfully profiting from a declared natural disaster. The Attorney General’s Office is committed to strictly enforcing the State’s price gouging laws, which apply to necessities such as groceries, clothing, medical supplies, lodging, repair work and fuel during and after the crisis.”

Attorney General Abbott also urged local residents and businesses to take precautions if approached by door-to-door salesmen offering repair and cleanup services.

A disaster declaration triggers strict penalties under the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, which prevents retailers and hotel operators from charging exorbitant prices for necessities during a declared disaster. Texans who believe they have encountered price gouging during a disaster should call the Office of the Attorney General’s toll-free complaint line at (800) 252-8011 or file a complaint online at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.