Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Recent congressional action on hurricane relief

Recent congressional actions that merit praise:

$8 million to study Category 5 storm protection for south Louisiana:

The Senate passed the Conference Report on the Energy and Water Appropriations Act. The Report, which passed the House of Representatives on November 9th, now moves to the President, who is expected to sign the bill into law.

The act allocates $8 million to the Corps of Engineers, "to conduct a comprehensive hurricane protection analysis and design at full federal expense to develop and present a full range of flood control, coastal restoration, and hurricane protection measures exclusive of normal policy considerations for South Louisiana." It also calls for the Corps to provide a preliminary report within six months of passage, and a final design within two years.

My comment - the Corps of Engineers has been trying for thirty years to implement a plan it already has for Category 5 protection. Okay, we'll give them 6 months to update the plan and incorporate other parishes, but I'm still advocating the idea of a 2012 bicentennial ribbon cutting. It's time to get this done.

Coastal restoration funding:
U.S. Sens. David Vitter and Mary Landrieu announced passage of an amendment to the Budget Reconciliation Act today that would provide $1.2 billion for coastal restoration efforts in the Gulf States.

This is far shy of the $15 billion that Louisiana has been asking for to implement the Coast 2050 plan.

$1.6 Billion for Gulf Coast Schools:
An amendment to provide immediate funding to public and private schools that have opened their doors to children displaced by the hurricanes and subsequent levee breaks passed the U.S. Senate this morning by a unanimous voice vote.

Great - these schools are taking on an enormous burden accepting students from affected parishes. How about some money to fix the New Orleans public schools by facilitating the conversion of public schools to charter schools.


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