Thursday, August 02, 2007

Bush Threatens to Undermine New Orleans--Again

WWL-TV in New Orleans reports that, once again, President Bush is back-sliding on his promise that the federal govrnment would ensure the city's recovery from Hurricane Katrina. Now, for reasons clear to no one, he threatens to veto a bill that would devote $4 billion to infrastructure improvements to reduce the threat of new flooding. The outrage of Louisiana officials--including David Vitter--is well justified. Perhaps Bush should publish a list of promises he has kept. It would be a very short one.

This article, originally from the Associated Press, is at

Louisiana officials angry over Bush veto threat
August 2, 2007

BATON ROUGE, La. - Louisiana officials reacted angrily to President Bush's threat to veto a $20 billion water projects bill unless lawmakers remove the billions added for new plants and new costs shifted onto the federal government.

The bill was passed overwhelmingly in the House of Representatives Wednesday night.

"I am stunned by the President's WRDA veto threat," Republican Senator David Vitter said. "And I have one basic response -- I will enthusiastically work to override his veto."

Vitter pointed out that levees buckled under the intense storm surge of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the bill contains the means to "update, improve, and streamline bureaucratic stonewalls within the Army Corps of Engineers."

Gov. Kathleen Blanco said she wholeheartedly agreed with Vitter's viewpoint.

Louisiana has waited seven years for the projects in the bill to help with coastal restoration and hurricane protection projects, Blanco said.

"With many coastal residents still rebuilding after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita -- still vulnerable to future storms, I fail to understand how President Bush can choose to abandon their protection," Blanco said. "I urge our Louisiana Delegation to stand together and fight for Louisiana's future. Mr. President, our people are still suffering, and this WRDA bill shows them there is hope for the future. I ask you, do not dash their hopes."

In addition to water projects throughout the country, the bill includes authorization for over $2 billion in projects for south Louisiana, including full authorization for the Morganza-to-the-Gulf hurricane and storm protection system, $1.9 billion for a comprehensive federal coastal restoration plan, closure of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, and channel deepening at the Port of Iberia, Rep. Charlie Melancon pointed out.

"By saying no to Morganza, the President is ignoring the 120,000 Americans in Terrebonne and south Lafourche who currently have no defense against storms and are like sitting ducks in the path of the next killer hurricane," Melancon said. "By saying no to closing MRGO, the President is ignoring the people of St. Bernard and New Orleans who had their homes and communities destroyed in large part because of this hurricane superhighway. And by saying no to the almost $2 billion in coastal restoration projects this bill authorizes, the President is ignoring all of the people of south Louisiana, and the vital role they play supplying this country with energy, seafood, and other resources."

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