House Republican leaders support Harvey relief

HOUSTON (AP) — The Latest on Tropical Depression Harvey (all times local):

8:35 a.m.

House Republican leaders have committed support for Harvey relief.

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told lawmakers from Texas and Louisiana on a conference call that “we are with you.”

The call Wednesday night included federal officials from the Department of Homeland Security. They say the full scope of damages might not be known for weeks or more.

No specific dollar figures or timing was discussed, according to a House GOP aide who requested anonymity to disclose details of the private conversation.

But there will likely be the need for immediate support — and McCarthy and other leaders made clear the House is prepared to act.

Congress returns next week from its August recess and a response to Harvey will be at the top of the agenda.

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By Associated Press reporter Erica Werner in Washington D.C.

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8:25 a.m.

Colonial Pipeline says it plans to shut down a key line that supplies gasoline to the South due to storm-related refinery shutdowns and Harvey’s effect on its facilities west of Lake Charles, Louisiana.

The Georgia-based company said in a statement that it expects to shut off the line Thursday. The company had already closed down another line that transports primarily diesel and aviation fuels.

The pipeline provides nearly 40 percent of the South’s gasoline.

In September 2016, a leak and gas spill in Alabama that closed the Colonial Pipeline led to days of empty gas station pumps and higher prices in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas.

The company didn’t say how long it expects the closure to last, saying it will know more when workers can evaluate its facilities.

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7:50 a.m.

Local officials say explosions at a flooded Houston-area chemical plant produced no toxins, although federal authorities are describing the resulting plumes as “incredibly dangerous.”

Assistant Harris County Fire Chief Bob Rayall told a news conference Thursday that the explosions emitted 30- to 40-foot (9- to 12-meter) flames and black smoke.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said no toxins were released and that there’s no danger to the community. He says sheriff’s deputies who were hospitalized suffering from irritated eyes after the blasts have all been released.

But at a news conference in Washington, D.C. Thursday, FEMA administrator Brock Long said he considers plumes from the explosion “incredibly dangerous.”

Gonzalez says he expects the fire to burn itself out.

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6:20 a.m.

A Houston…

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