Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Iraq War Makes us Less Safe From Hurricanes

From the Times-Pic this morning
Levitan's proposed hurricane-safe public buildings would be unstaffed refuges and contain few amenities for those left behind to face potential floodwaters. But if levees are raised and floodgates are built to protect the city from catastrophic storm surge, they could be used as American Red Cross hurricane shelters. Such a plan is already being considered. An initial study of the feasibility of higher levees was completed earlier this year for Jefferson Parish, garnering enough information to recommend a second study that would estimate a price tag for building such a system for the metro area.

That second study would take about four years to complete and would cost about $4 million, said Army Corps of Engineers project manager Al Naomi. About $300,000 in federal money was proposed for the 2005 fiscal-year budget, and the state had agreed to match that amount.

But the cost of the Iraq war forced the Bush administration to order the New Orleans district office not to begin any new studies, and the 2005 budget no longer includes the needed money, he said.

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