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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Louisiana Largest Corps of Engineers Grantee. Levy System Repair Not State Priority


Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu quipped that the old Saturday Night Live clay figure "Mr. Bill" knew more about the possible failure of the levy's in New Orleans than President Bush. Ms. Landrieu, scion of the famous Landrieu family, who's father Moon Landrieu as Mayor of New Orleans, played a hand in building the now infamous Superdome. Her brother, Mitch, is the current Lieutenant Governor of Louisana, right up there next to wiffle, waffle and wait, Governor K. Babineaux "Babs" Blanco.

So when dollface Mary gives a speech demanding to know why nothing was done to improve the levy system to protect New Orleans from a category five storm, people rightly ask: "You've known about this problem for how long? What did YOU do about it?

Well, Mike's America went to Senator Landrieu's web page to get the goods from the horses mouth. I was looking for bills that Ms. Landrieu had sponsored during either the 108th Congress or the 109th where she sought funds for Army Corps of Engineers projects to strengthen the New Orleans levy system to withstand a category 4 or 5 storm.

As Mr. Bill would say: "OHHH NOOO!!!" Dear Mary didn't sponsor ANY legislation to upgrade the levy's in New Orleans!

Well I suppose that's President Bush's fault too! He should have known the people of Louisiana were too incompetant to elect anyone better than dear Mary to save them. The President should have sent the Army in to take control of Louisiana and depose boobs like dear Mary years ago!

Louisiana Largest Pork Projects Did Not Include Flood Control

From The Washington Post: "Money Flowed to Questionable Projects State Leads in Army Corps Spending, but Millions Had Nothing to Do With Floods"

Before Hurricane Katrina breached a levee on the New Orleans Industrial Canal, the Army Corps of Engineers had already launched a $748 million construction project at that very location. But the project had nothing to do with flood control. The Corps was building a huge new lock for the canal, an effort to accommodate steadily increasing barge traffic.

Except that barge traffic on the canal has been steadily decreasing.

In Katrina's wake, Louisiana politicians and other critics have complained about paltry funding for the Army Corps in general and Louisiana projects in particular. But over the five years of President Bush's administration, Louisiana has received far more money for Corps civil works projects than any other state, about $1.9 billion; California was a distant second with less than $1.4 billion, even though its population is more than seven times as large.
...
Despite a series of independent investigations criticizing Army Corps construction projects as wasteful pork-barrel spending, Louisiana's representatives have kept bringing home the bacon.

For example, after a $194 million deepening project for the Port of Iberia flunked a Corps cost-benefit analysis, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) tucked language into an emergency Iraq spending bill ordering the agency to redo its calculations.
...
Pam Dashiell, president of the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association, remembers holding a protest against the lock four years ago -- right where the levee broke Aug. 30. Now she's holed up with her family in a St. Louis hotel, and her neighborhood is underwater. "Our politicians never cared half as much about protecting us as they cared about pork," Dashiell said.
...
But overall, the Bush administration's funding requests for the key New Orleans flood-control projects for the past five years were slightly higher than the Clinton administration's for its past five years. Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, the chief of the Corps, has said that in any event, more money would not have prevented the drowning of the city, since its levees were designed to protect against a Category 3 storm, and the levees that failed were already completed projects.
...
[M]ore than any other federal agency, the Corps is controlled by Congress; its $4.7 billion civil works budget consists almost entirely of "earmarks" inserted by individual legislators.
This won't be the first inspection of grants and spending that went awry in Louisiana and New Orleans. But it should be a wake up call for the knee-jerks who can't get beyond the Bush is to blame mantra.

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