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Is anyone too dirty to clean up New Orleans?

Even while the draining of New Orleans is barely started, and the city still not fully evacuated, the infighting over who will rebuild the city (and, more importantly, be paid to do so) has started. Three names have come forward -- Shaw, Halliburton, and Bechtel.

And all three are being raked over the coals for their political ties. Halliburton is having its ties to Cheney brought up yet again, along with its less-than-stellar performance in Iraq. Shaw has some incredibly tight -- one might say incestuous -- connections with the Louisiana Democratic Party. In fact, their CEO also serves as the party's state chairman. And Bechtel is the prime contractor for Boston's disastrous, problem-riddked, out-of-control Big Dig project.

So, what to do?

Let's say we are fed up with all three companies, and we disqualify all of them from the work. We ask their competitors to step in and do the work.

One minor problem: there ain't that many companies in that field.

According to Hoover's Online, there are only 16 construction companies that have over $10 billion in sales a year. (I chose that number arbitrarily, but it seems to be a reasonable choice.) As a non-subscriber, I can only view the top ten. Let's look at them alphabetically (the way Hoover's presents them):

Bechtel: Already eliminated.

Centex: They specialize in private homes. Limited commercial experience, and (as far as I can tell) nothing even close to this scale.

Deere & Company: The John Deere people. They provide the equipment, not the know-how.

D. R. Horton: Again, homebuilders. Also, they have no locations in Mississippi or New Orleans.

Duke Energy: They build power plants. Certainly useful, but not quite what we need.

Emerson Electric Company: Electrical equipment manufacturers.

FirstEnergy: Another utility.

Georgia-Pacific: Paper and wood products.

Halliburton: We've disqualified them, too.

International Paper Company: Another paper and wood products company.

Now, there might be a whole host of companies just ready and willing to tackle the job, and who might do it as well as Bechtel, Halliburton, or Shaw. One commenter over at The Moderate Voice mentioned Fluor, with whom I'm utterly unfamilar.

But projects like this are HUGE. We are essentially talking about draining, razing, and rebuilding an entire city and more. That requires BIG companies, and at that level there just aren't that many to choose from. There are only so many big projects, and only so many of the "big boys" who can do it.

No, I'm not overly thrilled about it. I think Bechtel oughta be horse-whipped over the Big Dig. I am deeply, deeply troubled by the CEO of Shaw also serving as Louisiana's Democratic Party Chairman. And while I think Halliburton has gotten the shaft -- repeatedly -- over its former employment of Vice President Dick Cheney, they've been accused of some pretty shoddy stunts over in Iraq.

But they seem like the only ones who are capable of pulling this project off. And while they might all be richly deserving in being punished, this isn't punishment -- it's depriving them of an opportunity.

The only ones who would be punished would be the victims of Hurricane Katrina, and I think they've suffered enough.

So let's toss it open to all of the Big Boys, and see just who gives us the best plan -- and the best guarantees of performance. Let's not kick the hurricane victims around yet again -- they're already being used as political footballs enough.


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Comments (17)

Remember Schlumberger? Well... (Below threshold)

Remember Schlumberger? Well...they're certainly of the "ilk" of Bechtel, Halliburton and Shaw. However, they're a French company and are owned by the French Government. If you wonder why they didn't get the US contracts in Iraq??? Can you say Oil-For-Food and Chirac/ de Villepin?

Why wouldn't Louisiana use a Louisiana native company? Shaw's worldwide HQ is Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Halliburton is based in Houston and Bechtel's HQ is in San Francisco, California.

From Bechtel's own website is this news release:

Bechtel National to Provide Short-Term Housing for Hurricane Victims --- Bechtel National, Inc., has been selected by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assess and provide for emergency needs in areas hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina.

"Bechtel task forces are already on the ground in the Gulf States receiving detailed FEMA briefings to determine where and how we can best help," said Thomas Hash, President of BNI. "Our first task order calls for us to help provide short-term housing facilities in Mississippi," he said.

"We are saddened by the unimaginable devastation and loss of human life," Hash said. "Bechtel is ready to go to work with the other organizations FEMA has selected to help in this unprecedented relief effort," he added.

Bechtel is taking every measure to ensure the safety, health, and security of employees being deployed in the Gulf States. All are receiving medical screening and specialized training for work in the disaster area.

And from FEMA's own website here's a list of Corporations contacted for support:

FEMA: Disaster Relief > Release Number: HQ-05-228 --- The corporations contracted for support include:
  • The Shaw Group Inc., of Baton Rouge, La. will stay close to home and will provide design, construction, transportation, utilities and facilities management. The company is also providing support to hospitals and other public buildings.
  • Fluor Corp. of Aliso Viejo, Calif. heads up operations for the Housing Area Command. An engineering and construction firm, it is now in Louisiana beginning construction on temporary housing units that will provide electricity, potable water and sanitary sewage facilities.
  • Bechtel National Inc. of San Francisco, an engineering and construction firm that is now on the scene in Gulf states to provide emergency housing relief.
  • CH2M Hill of Denver specializes in sewerage design, hazardous-waste cleanup and transportation projects such as highways and bridges. It will be working on providing housing in Alabama.
  • Dewberry Technologies, Fairfax, Va., an advanced technologies company, will be providing planning and reporting tools. J.M. Bernhard Jr., Chief Executive Officer of Shaw, said, "With our company headquartered in Baton Rouge, Shaw and its employees are especially affected by this unprecedented natural disaster and are committed to providing immediate recovery and rebuilding services. It gives us a tremendous sense of pride and purpose to play a key leadership role in assisting our neighbors within Louisiana and the entire Gulf Coast region.
Oops, the FEMA: Dis... (Below threshold)

Oops, the FEMA: Disaster Relief Release url is actually:


They ought to get Se... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

They ought to get Sean Penn back down there, his dad has an awesome set of tools.

Actually, let's do it this ... (Below threshold)

Actually, let's do it this way:

3 companies, 3 states.

Shaw gets Louisiana, for its incompetent Demo gov'na (poetic justice).

Halliburton gets Mississippi (probably the hardest hit STATE).

Bechtel gets Alabama (less to scrwe up)

Some more food for thought:... (Below threshold)

Some more food for thought:
Conglomerates (which include construction of various sorts)

And, for the Oil Services field, there's a few other choices:

Pumps? Precision CastParts, among others (going off of the americancompanies.com site)

Other construction:
Clayton Homes, Inc.
Forest River Inc.
Fleetwood Enterprises, Inc.
Komatsu Ltd.
Thor Industries, Inc.
Kubota Corporation
Champion Enterprises, Inc.
Palm Harbor Homes, Inc.
Butler Manufacturing Company
NCI Building Systems, Inc.

More food for thought ;)


Fluor... (Below threshold)
Mrs. Davis:


Fluor (Fluor-Daniel) design... (Below threshold)

Fluor (Fluor-Daniel) designed and built the pumping stations for the Trans-Alaskan pipeline, as well as the terminal in Valdez. Anything Bechtel can do, Fluor can do better.

how about the people that l... (Below threshold)

how about the people that live there rebuild it with their know-how? that way, the next time this happens, they'll have it fresh in their mind how to build mud huts.

piss on new orleans, that place always has been a shithole, rivaled in its shittiness only by the attitudes of the people that live there.

just had refuges from mississippi in our house for two weeks, so don't think we're not compassionate

The Feds should have an OPE... (Below threshold)

The Feds should have an OPEN BID process. If you believe in capitalism then let the companies fight it out for the bid. Give the no-bid to the Red-Cross for the short term stuff. Neocons claim to love capitalism - except when it comes to padding their own pockets. Then its government to the Haliburton rescue! Just watch as Brownie gives the no-bid contract to his old roomate or the biggest political contributor. Watch as he quits to join that firm after the media eye moves to the next big thing. He's going to be RICH RICH RICH!

I bet as the people started and starving and breaking into places for food, being prevented from leaving by authorities, walking in their own excrement, firing guns to get attention (listen to the inspirational interview of Charmaine Neville about how she saved a bus-load of people http://www.chittlincircuit.com/Article73.phtml , ) I bet Brownie was thinking. "Its time to spend a lot of money and I wonder who I will give the no-bid contract to for... private security? reconstruction? Ka-ching!

I suggest they give the job... (Below threshold)

I suggest they give the job to Disney. Disney built huge housing and parks in Florida. Plus a number around the world that I am not familar with.

Nothing would more closely match the geist of NO than a copy of the happiest place on earth and fantasyland.

NO seems to no longer have any purpose separate from entertainment/tourism/illusion. So why not refer them to the masters of imagineering?

NO supporters may think I am kicking them. It is not intended that way. If the people of the locale can rebuild in a better way I wish them good fortune.

Captaindog,And the... (Below threshold)


And the shittiness of our city and our personalities pales to nothingness compared to your own. I don't know who pissed in your cornflakes this morning, but that was way uncalled for.

Yea, you just pissed on Pau... (Below threshold)

Yea, you just pissed on Paul, too.

Just wondering, why does it... (Below threshold)
April Dilli:

Just wondering, why does it have to be one company doing the whole thing? I'm obviously not an expert, so maybe there's something I'm missing. Why can't several of the 2nd tier or smaller companies do it? Divide New Orleans and the other areas into sections and let one of the companies handle that section.

I've come up with the <a hr... (Below threshold)

I've come up with the perfect company for handling the clean-up in New Orleans. Minority-owned, long experience in waste disposal. Unfortunately, they're probably too small to tackle the problem.

And THEY'RE FICTIONAL. For real work we need to use real companies.

Have the compassion elves f... (Below threshold)

Have the compassion elves fix it. They work on compassion alone.

Does Raytheon still own Rus... (Below threshold)
Cousin Dave:

Does Raytheon still own Rust Engineering? Does Rust even still exist? In their day, they could have done this kind of job.

A smaller company that would certainly be competent to handle the drainage and dry-out operations would be Oceaneering in Houston.

FOUL! Theere are two posts... (Below threshold)

FOUL! Theere are two posts about a 35% scroll down fom the top attributed to me. I did not write them or post them. I demand to know who posted these false attributions.






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