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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Levees Failed

And the flooding continues; yet another cost of George's adventure in Iraq...
It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay. [...] Nobody locally is happy that the levees can't be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us.

Get it? The levees were not finished. The levees failed, even though the hurricane veered and weakened. Which levees failed? [...] The $750 million Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity Hurricane Protection project is another major Corps project, which remains about 20% incomplete due to lack of funds, said Al Naomi, project manager. That project consists of building up levees and protection for pumping stations on the east bank of the Mississippi River in Orleans, St. Bernard, St. Charles and Jefferson parishes. [...] "The longer we wait without funding, the more we sink," he said. "I've got at least six levee construction contracts that need to be done to raise the levee protection back to where it should be (because of settling). Right now I owe my contractors about $5 million. And we're going to have to pay them interest."

Some of those areas, specifically St. Bernard, are now completely under water because those levee projects were not completed. [...] The district has identified $35 million in projects to build and improve levees, floodwalls and pumping stations in St. Bernard, Orleans, Jefferson and St. Charles parishes. Those projects are included in a Corps line item called Lake Pontchartrain, where funding is scheduled to be cut from $5.7 million this year to $2.9 million in 2006. Naomi said it's enough to pay salaries but little else.
Read the rest at Daily Kos...

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