Boxer to speed levee bill

Senator Boxer in New Orleans for a field hearing announced plans to fast track a bill containing levee and wetlands projects. She also questioned why Bush refuses to ask for the $1.3 billion needed to continue levee construction on NOLA’s east bank (background post here)…

In a field hearing in New Orleans on Monday, Senate
Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara
Boxer announced plans to complete by the end of March the
writing of the 2007 Water Resources Development Act, which
contains hundreds of levee, wetlands and navigation
projects, including many in Louisiana.

The water projects authorization bill, normally approved
every two years, hasn’t been passed since 2000.


“We all still believe there is an emergency
here,” Boxer said as she questioned the civilian chief
of the corps about the agency’s plan to transfer $1.3
billion set aside for east bank levee projects to pay for
West Bank levee projects that will be ready for construction
more quickly.

Boxer wanted to know why the Bush administration will not
support asking immediately for the additional $1.3 billion
as part of a supplemental appropriations bill now being
considered by Congress.

Give credit to Boxer for going to NOLA and asking the right question. The White House has asked and received billions in war supplementals but there is no request for New Orlean’s levees when he promised “to make the flood protection system stronger than it has ever been”? 

The fear is that the diverted funds will never be restored and given the track record that fear is legitimate.