Wednesday, April 19, 2006

"Vitter blasts corps' levee work delays"

Times Picayune:
"New Orleans will enter the hurricane season in six weeks without important pieces of its storm protection, not because Congress is dragging its feet, but because the Army Corps of Engineers is waiting for congressional authorization that it already has, Sen. David Vitter told corps officials Tuesday.

Vitter, R-La., said critical projects such as armoring levees and moving pumping stations to the lakefront could have begun under an emergency financing bill passed last year that included broad authorization to cover any flood-control repair work.

'The bill we passed last year was written very broadly to provide a wide range of authorization to avoid these kinds of delays,' said Vitter, who presided over a meeting in New Orleans of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. 'It's been frustrating to me that they (continue) to hold up (work) while requesting additional language.

'Clearly we'll be entering hurricane season more vulnerable than we would have been had this work been done.'"
The Corps, afraid of criticism and lawsuits, wants Congress to dot every "i" of its proposed levee rebuilding. Leaving New Orleans with substandard protection for this hurricane season.

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