Friday, December 16, 2005

Levee 'Largesse'

The announcement that Bush was doubling funds to rebuild NOLA levees made great healines but experts caution that in Bush's plan there is not much new or better.
Joseph Suhayda, a coastal scientist and retired Louisiana State University professor stated..
"the federal government simply saying they would finally do what they had committed to doing in 1965," when the Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity Hurricane Protection Project was authorized by Congress. "In that regard, they aren't restoring to Category 3 levels, they're finally getting there, just 45 years late."

Suhayda also said the Bush announcement could take steam from the drive to provide Category 5 protection for New Orleans, a commitment he said is vital to the city's future.

"We've already seen some businesses say they can't come back, or won't come, unless they have that level of protection," he said. "It may be a case of, 'If you don't build it they won't come.'

"I think we're looking at having a city of 350,000 with Category 3 protection, as opposed to a vibrant, growing city of 1.5 million again with Category 5.

Ivor van Heerden, director of the LSU Hurricane Center said

Katrina proved the system being rebuilt will not keep the city safe from a Category 3 storm because surge heights were the equivalent of those produced by a Category 1 storm by the time they reached some parts of town where levees failed or were topped.
Simulations run by the LSU Hurricane Center showed a true Category 3 storm passing west of the city would flood the entire West Bank and downtown New Orleans with the current protection system in place

While Nagin appeared with Bush and praised his largesse, Blanco couldn't even get a meeting with Bush during her trip to Washington. She "was told that the president's schedule would not permit a visit" and the White House would not comment as to why. "Blanco and other Louisiana politicians have been lobbying Congress for support for a larger levee and gate system that would protect the city from Category 5 hurricanes." But I think it's clear who the White House wanted to deal with...... Nagin.

I may be wrong but it appears to me that Bush used Nagin to cut the legs out from under those LA politicians seeking more and leaving Blanco and the others with the only move of joining in praise of Bush. What else could they do? Stand against the Mayor and fellow Democrat? Turn their nose up at "double" the funds for levees? Even though the "extra" money Bush promised comes from "$62 billion already appropriated by Congress but not yet spent for aid after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita" imagine how it would have been spun had they said not good enough. If right I'm also left with many questions regarding Nagin.

What is clear is that NOLA is truly the orphan child that must take what little is left after Iraq spending and tax cuts. Bush's largesse is nothing more than a shell game of inadequate promises that will not save NOLA and though it may have gotten him some good headlines, No American's guilt ought to be assuaged by it.
And watch out for Cat 3's next year.

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