Hmmmm, who said this? (h/t Protein Wisdom)
Anyone who cares about responsible budgeting and the health of America?s rivers and wetlands should pay attention to a bill now before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. The bill would shovel $17 billion at the Army Corps of Engineers for flood control and other water-related projects ? this at a time when President Bush is asking for major cuts in Medicaid and other important domestic programs. Among these projects is a $2.7 billion boondoggle on the Mississippi River that has twice flunked inspection by the National Academy of Sciences? […]
This is a bad piece of legislation
Anyone want to take a guess?
If you had guessed the NYT then u would win a stuffed teddy bear. That was last April. Now what did they write a few days ago?
While our attention must now be on the Gulf Coast?s most immediate needs, the nation will soon ask why New Orleans?s levees remained so inadequate. Publications from the local newspaper to National Geographic have fulminated about the bad state of flood protection in this beloved city, which is below sea level. Why were developers permitted to destroy wetlands and barrier islands that could have held back the hurricane?s surge? Why was Congress, before it wandered off to vacation, engaged in slashing the budget for correcting some of the gaping holes in the area?s flood protection?
So the NYT goes off on Congress and the Administration for too much money going towards flood control and now goes off on them for too little. Yup, that’s the perfect example of a Democrat.
The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has a rare opportunity tomorrow to strike a blow for both fiscal sanity and the environment. Before the committee is a bill that would bring a measure of discipline and independent oversight to the Army Corps of Engineers, an incorrigibly spendthrift agency whose projects over the years have caused enormous damage to the nation’s streams, rivers and wetlands.
Man, can these people be more hypocritical?
More new’s about the Levee upgrades:
Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, chief of engineers for the Corps, dismissed suggestions that recent federal funding decreases or delayed contracts had any impact on levee performance in the face of Katrina’s overwhelming force.
Instead he pointed to a danger that many public officials had warned about for years: The system was never designed to withstand a storm of Katrina’s strength.
“It was fully recognized by officials that we had Category Three [hurricane] level of protection,” Strock said. “As projections of Category Four and Five were made, [officials] began plans to evacuate the city.
“We were just caught by a storm whose intensity exceeded the protection that we had in place.”
…Until the day before Katrina’s arrival, New Orleans’s 350 miles (560 kilometers) of levees were undergoing a feasibility study to examine the possibility of upgrading them to withstand a Category Four or Five storm.
Corps officials say the study, which began in 2000, will take several years to complete.
Upgrading the system would take as long as 20 to 25 years, according to Al Naomi, the Corps’ senior project manager for the New Orleans District.
Martin McCann, a civil and environmental engineering professor at Stanford University in California, warns that long-term planning may not account for changes to the risk equation.
“As further development goes on behind levees, over decades you need to revisit the question and say, Are those levees providing us the protection that we wanted?” he said.
“The answer is probably no, because the exposure is probably greater. The number of people and the [amount of] valuable property [behind the levees] is greater.”
You read right, 20-25 years to upgrade to Cat 4/5 protection.
I hate to repost this, but I think it’s important for those looking for someone to blame. From the very beginning of this crisis, the Louisiana Governor, Kathleen Blanco, has treated this situation as a political issue. As I watched her last Sunday morning press conference, I was amused at how she invoked the presidents name on several occasions.
Blanco noted how she spoke to the president the day before (Saturday) and how it was Bush who called her to issue a state of emergency for the state of Louisiana. This was unusual since I know (from living in Florida) that it is usually the Governor who makes this declaration. But even more unusual was how Blanco noted that it was also the president who called her to insist and plead that she issue a mandatory evacuation.
At the time I didn’t realize why she was turning all this responsibility over to the president…but than I realized why. Just a year ago when Hurricane Ivan barely missed the city of New Orleans, both the Governor and the city planners took extreme heat for the inconveniences they caused their population when hurricane Ivan didn’t hit their city. Both state and local officials took criticism from all areas, including their failures to prepare for that hurricane.
Amazingly, that criticism led to the slow reactions we saw this past weekend as katrina approached the Louisiana coast. Each public official looked to the other to make the life-saving calls because they didn’t want to be responsible for another false alarm. In other words, their was no leadership from the start. When President Bush called on Saturday to ask what the heck was going on, the governor finally took action because she now had her scape-goat should Katrina not hit the city.
What’s outrageous about this is that we only have to go back to hurricane Ivan to see what this reluctance meant. From the beginning the mayor was warned of his inadequate city plans. This was even exposed in an AP report from September 19, 2004 by Kevin McGill titled “Ivan exposes flaws in N.O.’s disaster plans.” Not only was the mayor warned about his problem of relocating the poor, homeless advocacy groups insisted he make changes.
A quote from the article notes: “They say evacuate, but they don’t say how I’m supposed to do that,” Latonya Hill, 57, said at the time. “If I can’t walk it or get there on the bus, I don’t go. I don’t got a car. My daughter don’t either.”…”Even the ACLU criticized the mayor, noting, “If the government asks people to evacuate, the government has some responsibility to provide an option for those people who can’t evacuate and are at the whim of Mother Nature,” said Joe Cook of the New Orleans ACLU.
The mayor had a full year and yet nothing was done. And this is reprehensible since even the American Red Cross informed the mayor that they would no longer be setting up shelters within the city for hurricanes over category-2. They informed the mayor that is was just too dangerous and that his city was ill-prepared to handle the crisis. Others even warned that the Superdome was insufficient since it would turn into an island with thousands trapped. This all happened a year ago. Mayor Ray Nagin’s spokeswoman, Tanzie Jones responded to the criticism… “Our main focus is to get the people out of the city,” she said. Hmm…yet we all see the pictures of school buses siting useless in drowned-out parking lots.
The politics didn’t stop there. Every state governor has a National Guard at their disposal…not to mention all the State Police and law enforcement agencies at their call. Louisiana still retained 66% of their NG for a crisis just like this. In fact, having been declared a state of emergency by the president (last Saturday), the governor not only has the power to request federal resources, she can request the NG from surrounding states. She did neither before this storm.
But what makes matters worse is that this governor failed to use her own National Guard for the purposes of law enforcment. This was a political decision because she did not want to be the person giving orders that might result in the shooting of “poor, black people.” Can you imagine the outrage come election time. This was made more difficult since not only did the mayor of NO…but also her own Attorney General, begin justifying the looting shortly after the hurricane passed. Ironically, these people even had almost a 24 hour window to clean up this mess (and evacuate) after the hurricane passed…and before the levees broke. Sadly, they dropped their guard thinking they got away with another near-miss.
While we all understand the need to survive, this lawlessness broke out immediately, with people taking everything in sight. As a result, chaos ensued and the governor, for political reasons, just would not take control of a situation that would surely destroy her political chances if poor, black people were killed. You could even hear the justification by some as if these people were owed these things. The sad fact is, there was a lack of leadership from the start. Is it any wonder cops were laying down their badges and walking off the job. It wasn’t Katrina that destroyed this city…it was the politicians.
“….Looking beaten, Tim Duchene, 48, grimaced as he stood near the front of the line. He had waited three hours and tried in vain to take his medication to ease a ruptured disk in his back.
”Nobody brought us water. I tried to get one from them but they told me to get back in line,” Duchene said. “They weren’t prepared for this. I’d like to know how they’re going to feed all these people.”
Earlier, 55-year-old Leon Moore, the left side of his body paralyzed for the past 12 years because of a stroke, pulled his weathered red truck up to the Superdome and angrily decried Mayor Nagin. ”The mayor of the city didn’t make preparations for the handicapped,” he said.
The criticisms of Nagin came from above as well. Numerous officials urged him to evacuate the city, but he worried about the legality of ordering people out when New Orleans has few safe hurricane shelters. Also, National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield in Miami called Nagin at home Saturday night and told him: Get people out of New Orleans.
”I could never sleep if I felt like I didn’t do everything that I could to impress upon people the gravity of the situation,” Mayfield said. “New Orleans is never going to be the same.”
When a grim Nagin issued the mandatory evacuation order Sunday, he said: “We are facing a storm that most of us have feared . . . God bless us.”
In Jefferson Parish, south of Orleans Parish, officials also issued an evacuation order — which also enables them to seize boats and buildings — and prepared for widespread suffering.
”Let’s watch. Let’s pray. Let’s leave,” Jefferson Parish President Aaron F. Broussard said. “I’m expecting that some people who are die-hards will die hard.”
Katrina is on one of the worst possible tracks for New Orleans as it aims for Lake Pontchartrain, a 40-mile-wide reservoir whose waters are already above the city. The lake will likely top the levees if not smash them, spilling water into the wide shallow bowl that is the city, established by the French in 1718.
The 129-mile system of pumps and levees, still needing $50 million to complete, was designed to resist a fast-moving, dry Category 3 storm — in short, nothing like Katrina. If the levees hold but the water spills over, the water will be almost impossible to remove, considering the pumps will be swamped and shut down, said Stevan Spencer, the Orleans Levee District’s chief engineer.
”It all really makes you wonder what the French were doing when they built this place,” Spencer said.
Want more about this Mayor? (h/t Mike’s America)
The finger pointing and race baiting continues in the tragic wake of Hurricane Katrina. As I pointed out yesterday, fleets of buses were destroyed by the storm in New Orleans, that could have been used by the local government to evacuate those who had no other transportation.
Junk Yard Blog is all over this story in detail. He cites the Southeast Louisiana evacuation supplement (page 13, paragraph 5):
5. The primary means of hurricane evacuation will be personal vehicles. School and municipal buses, government-owned vehicles and vehicles provided by volunteer agencies may be used to provide transportation for individuals who lack transportation and require assistance in evacuating.
The mayor and the police force also had power under this emergency order to commander any vehicle to assist in their efforts.
Yet for the last several days, Mayor Nagin has been running around giving interviews saying things like: the federal government needs to “get their asses moving,” stop calling “goddamn press conferences.” In another angry interview Nagin said: “I need reinforcements,” he pleaded. “I need troops, man. I need 500 buses, man. This is a national disaster.”
You’ve seen the closeup aerial photo of school buses that were destroyed by Katrina and never used to help get the poor out of harm’s way.
Here’s a wider satellite shot. The buses that could have been used to evacuate residents of the poorer neighborhoods are only a few miles up the freeway from the Superdome and the Convention Center where many refugees were stuck without food, water or sanitation for days. Junkyard blog estimates that the 205 buses shown could easily have evacuated over 10,000 people in their very first trip to the Astrodome in Houston, had time to return and take another load before the storm hit on Monday morning.
Bill Hobbes points out that the New Orleans Regional Transport Authority had at least 364 buses, which could have carried thousands more to safety had they been employed in time.
That’s at least 500 buses Mayor! Why didn’t you use them?
But still the left will attempt to smear Bush, which is no surprise but does make them look quite ridiculous….not that they usually don’t look ridiculous.