Thursday, May 19, 2011

Something called Mississippi River monitoring

Today the Carrollton gauge says 17.1 feet. But Bobby Jindal thinks that bringing you this information is a waste of money.
The deeper flaw in Jindal’s resort to GOP talking points was that he got the math wrong. Only $7 to $14 million of the $140 million he cited actually went to “volcano monitoring.” The rest of the funding in that line item supported other U.S. Geological Survey projects such as equipment replacement, mapping, and upgrades to “stream gauges in Louisiana and other states that will provide emergency planners with better real-time information …”

You read that correctly. According to Jindal, one of the premier examples of waste in the trillion-dollar stimulus package was a program that, in part, monitored river and stream flooding. A state still recovering from disastrous hurricanes and floods watched its top spokesman complain to the nation about scientific instruments that monitor things like volcanos and floods.

As we’re witnessing all too vividly right now, when the Mississippi river rises too far above flood stage, its swollen tributaries get backed up, and they begin flooding as well. Stream gauges keep track of river height and velocity, so we can predict crests and overflows before they occur. These are nice instruments to have, if you’re concerned about things like public safety. The 2009 version of Bobby Jindal dismissed them as “wasteful.”

Right on cue

Mississippi River flooding update: Gov. Jindal asks feds for economic assistance

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