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Thursday, December 15, 2005 

Mismanaged Funds

Plenty of blame to go around but is it being directed towards those who really are to blame?

Money Flowed to Questionable Projects
State Leads in Army Corps Spending, but Millions Had Nothing to Do With Floods

By Michael Grunwald
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 8, 2005; Page A01

Before Hurricane Katrina breached a levee on the New Orleans Industrial Canal, the Army Corps of Engineers had already launched a $748 million construction project at that very location. But the project had nothing to do with flood control. The Corps was building a huge new lock for the canal, an effort to accommodate steadily increasing barge traffic.

Except that barge traffic on the canal has been steadily decreasing.


In Katrina's wake, Louisiana politicians and other critics have complained about paltry funding for the Army Corps in general and Louisiana projects in particular. But over the five years of President Bush's administration, Louisiana has received far more money for Corps civil works projects than any other state, about $1.9 billion; California was a distant second with less than $1.4 billion, even though its population is more than seven times as large.

Much of that Louisiana money was spent to try to keep low-lying New Orleans dry. But hundreds of millions of dollars have gone to unrelated water projects demanded by the state's congressional delegation and approved by the Corps, often after economic analyses that turned out to be inaccurate. Despite a series of independent investigations criticizing Army Corps construction projects as wasteful pork-barrel spending, Louisiana's representatives have kept bringing home the bacon.

[FULL ARTICALE HERE; http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/07/AR2005090702462.html]


Levees only so strong

But overall, the Bush administration's funding requests for the key New Orleans flood-control projects for the past five years were slightly higher than the Clinton administration's for its past five years. Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, the chief of the Corps, has said that in any event, more money would not have prevented the drowning of the city, since its levees were only designed to protect against a Category 3 storm. Strock also has said the marsh restoration project would not have done much to diminish Katrina's storm surge, which passed east of the coastal wetlands.

"The project manager for the Great Pyramids probably put in a request for 100 million shekels and only got 50 million," said John Paul Woodley Jr., the Bush administration official overseeing the Corps. "Flood protection is always a work in progress; on any given day, if you ask whether any community has all the protection it needs, the answer is almost always: Maybe, but maybe not."

The Corps had been studying the possibility of upgrading the New Orleans levees for a higher level of protection before Katrina hit, but Woodley said that study would not have been finished for years. Still, liberal bloggers, Democratic politicians and some Republican defenders of the Corps have linked the catastrophe to the underfunding of the agency.

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  • I'm Devious Mind
  • From Denver, Colorado, United States
  • Good judgemnt comes from experiance. Experiance comes from bad judgement. Karma, its a bitch.
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