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Louisiana Wasted Flood Control Money on Pork

Why are none of us locals surprised??? This is a long except but well worth the read.

Army's engineers spent millions on Louisiana projects labeled as pork

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Before Hurricane Katrina breached a levee on the New Orleans Industrial Canal, the Army Corps of Engineers had 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 massive new lock for the canal, an effort to accommodate steadily increasing barge traffic.

Except 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 larger.

Much of that Louisiana money was spent to try to keep low-lying New Orleans dry. But hundreds of millions of dollars have gone to unrelated water projects demanded by the state's congressional delegation and approved by the Corps, often after economic analyses that turned out to be inaccurate. 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., [The Pork Princess ed] tucked language into an emergency Iraq spending bill ordering the agency to redo its calculations. The Corps also spends tens of millions of dollars a year dredging little-used waterways like the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, the Atchafalaya River and the Red River -- now known as the J. Bennett Johnston Waterway, in honor of the project's congressional godfather -- for barge traffic that turns out to be less than forecast.
...
Levees only so strong
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 only designed to protect against a Category 3 storm. Strock also has said the marsh restoration project would not have done much to diminish Katrina's storm surge, which passed east of the coastal wetlands.

"The project manager for the Great Pyramids probably put in a request for 100 million shekels and only got 50 million," said John Paul Woodley Jr., the Bush administration official overseeing the Corps. "Flood protection is always a work in progress; on any given day, if you ask whether any community has all the protection it needs, the answer is almost always: Maybe, but maybe not."

The Corps had been studying the possibility of upgrading the New Orleans levees for a higher level of protection before Katrina hit, but Woodley said that study would not have been finished for years.

There was actually a plan to upgrade the miles of levees to Cat 5 standards, but that was multiple billions of dollars and more importantly a 30 year project.

Even if fully funded the day Bush took office, New Orleans would have flooded. The levee that broke was the newest of them all.. the construction was still on going in the area. (as those of us who used to eat at Sidmar's can tell you ;-) The "old" levees held.

Still, liberal bloggers, Democratic politicians and some Republican defenders of the Corps have linked the catastrophe to the underfunding of the agency.

"We've been hollering about funding for years, but everyone would say: There goes Louisiana again, asking for more money," said former Democratic senator John Breaux. "We've had some powerful people in powerful places, but we never got what we needed."

No Senator, Louisiana got more than it needed.... You just wasted it. And now millions people people are paying the price.


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Comments (13)

Did Breaux really think tha... (Below threshold)

Did Breaux really think that his claim would not be checked out?!?

Knocking down the politically motivated memes, er...lies (eg: feds were slow to respond with aid to Convention Center/Superdome,U.S.S. Bataan was not utilized by the feds, etc.) is starting to feel like shooting fish in a barrel full of New Orleans flood water.

And will pay, and pay, and ... (Below threshold)
Mikey:

And will pay, and pay, and pay, and.....

Like any creature adapted t... (Below threshold)
Gringo:

Like any creature adapted to a highly specific environment, the common democrat, adapted to an environment where the media exists as an echo chamber, is endangered.

As Democrats go, John Breau... (Below threshold)
GoMommyGo:

As Democrats go, John Breaux is just to the left of Zell Miller.

As Democrats go, John Br... (Below threshold)

As Democrats go, John Breaux is just to the left of Zell Miller.

When Breaux writes a book griping about the leftward drift of his party, be sure and let us know, okay?

Paul - You should ... (Below threshold)
billy:

Paul -

You should write an open letter to the MSM explaining how THEY dropped the ball with regard to their duty to report news that is best for the common good.

What the MSM should have done in this instance was either to supply local news crews with gear and air time to report from each parts of their city or do it themselves. They were the perfect conduit to get the message out from each area of the city.

Instead, they treated it like it was a third world disaster - they were distant and only focused on the wow and never thought of themselves as American citizens with the ability to help.

No, they're better than American citizens so they can only criticise and shake their heads.

Help like this would have gone a long way for people in situations similar to yours, I would imagine.

I think the media is as culpable as Nagin, Blanco and Brown. They all ignored the obvious and turned and blamed, what to them was, the obvious. But I've come expect the opposite of reason from the above represented groups.

Best of luck to you,
^billy

But... But... Haven't you r... (Below threshold)
Robert Modean:

But... But... Haven't you read what tubin and the KOSsacks were saying in the other thread? It's all Bush's fault, it's got to be!

Can we stop with the hyster... (Below threshold)
Ed:

Can we stop with the hysterical "us" versus "them" whining??? Look at this website Is Bush to Blame for NO flooding?? The article CLEARLY states that funding WAS cut for some levee construction. However, the article points out that the leeves were only designed for a category 3 hurricane not 4/5 like Katrina. So, no, Bush's cuts, if restored would not have made a difference. The line in the posted article "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 larger." may be true, but its not the whole story. Yeah, Louisiana got the most Corps money, but it wasn't enough to complete the job of the Hurricane Protection Project because of a low-level of funding. But it wouldn't have mattered anyway.

Pork...Pork...Pork...The Bo... (Below threshold)

Pork...Pork...Pork...The Boys Are Marching. Well, the OMB has to pay the fiddler as well as the Corp of Engineers. There are incomplete projects that are older than I am!

Pure distortion once again.... (Below threshold)
Whistle This:

Pure distortion once again. The fact is this: The Republican Controlled Congress gutted the corps minimal budget requests for flood control in LA. time and time again. In fact , anyone with just a few moments fact checking can look at the budget changes in the congressional record and "follow the money" and see that it was taken from the LA. projects and moved into such worthwhile projects as port improvements in MS. including (how odd!) pretty pretty roads to all the casinos that paid so dearly to keep Trent Lott in public office. How much do you want to bet we pay for it again? Further, how much you wanna bet when all is said and done, Trent Lott is one of largest individual recipients of federal disaster aid from this? Thanks, I've enjoyed this moment of Circle Jerkus Interuptus. Carry on.

How can an organization cal... (Below threshold)

How can an organization call itself factcheck.org when they ignore facts and make claims like Bush cut the funding? Bush din't and couldn't cut finding, his only input in the funding process is submitting a budget proposal and signing or vetoing whatever congress returns to him, they can adopt all or none of his proposal or anything in between. I think factcheck needs to do exactly that, check some facts. That was what we learned in high school government class, it was true then and it's still true today. For anyone out there that doesn't understand or believe this there are several sites that explain it well enough that even some liberals should be able to grasp the basic, a small minority of them at least. Here's one site:

http://www.house.gov/rules/96-912.htm

And if all those big words in one place scare you here's the short version:

The President's budget, officially referred to as the Budget of the United States Government, is required to be submitted to Congress early in the legislative session, no later than the first Monday in February. The budget consists of estimates of spending, revenues, borrowing, and debt; policy and legislative recommendations; detailed estimates of the financial operations of federal agencies and programs; data on the actual and projected performance of the economy; and other information supporting the President's recommendations.

The President's budget is only a request to Congress; Congress is not required to adopt his recommendations. Nevertheless, the power to formulate and submit the budget is a vital tool in the President's direction of the executive branch and of national policy. The President's proposals often guide congressional revenue and spending decisions, though the extent of the influence varies from year to year and depends more on political and fiscal conditions than on the legal status of the budget.

That being said, any moonbat in the future that tries to claim that Bush cut funding to anything is either incredibly stupid or incredibly dishonest, or some combination of the two. I should have a law named after me like Godwin got for the Nazi thing. Bullwinkle's Law of Budget Truth has a nice ring to it. Anyone who doesn't think so is probably some kind of friggin' Nazi.

So, bullwinkle, are you say... (Below threshold)
GoMommyGo:

So, bullwinkle, are you saying Bush has no influence on the budget? He's been stuck accepting these cuts that congress has pushed over his objections?

Puh-leeze! When Congress passed tax cuts, Bush took the credit, but the cuts to levee building are out of his hands?

You don't get to have it both ways. Either he gets both the glory and the blame, or he gets neither.

McGeehee: My point is despite the 'D' in front of Breaux's name, he's been a Bush supporter. He's more red than blue. It's not a criticism, just a fact.

GoMommy,Bush reque... (Below threshold)

GoMommy,

Bush requested a 5% increase over what Clinton had for the levees. So, yes, the cuts came from Congress.




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