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Ear to the Ground

More Problems With New Orleans Levee Work

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Posted on Dec 5, 2006

In what officials are calling a “strategic pause,” work on New Orleans’ levees is at a standstill.  The Army Corps of Engineers says it has been delayed by engineering, budget and local-government hurdles, but critics—including some inside the corps—say the agency is simply dragging its feet.

(h/t: Crooks and Liars)

New York Times:

Contractors are waiting impatiently for the chance to bid on jobs. “By now, I would have expected there to be many more jobs bid and under way,” said Robert Boh, the head of Boh Brothers, a major local contractor. “We’re going to dance as soon as anyone asks us.”

The change of pace is obvious to nonexperts as well. Willis Reed, 64, who was fishing at Lake Pontchartrain along a levee that is to grow higher by several feet, said the contrast between the first phase and the second phase was striking. These days, Mr. Reed said, it seems that “everybody’s dragging a leg.” Even some within the corps say things should have been well under way by now. An engineer who left the corps, and was granted anonymity because he continues to work with the agency, said, “We should have been turning dirt months ago.”

The new, $6 billion phase involves raising the levees above their new levels, armoring the most vulnerable against erosion and creating pump stations to block the surge from Lake Pontchartrain in future storms.

Instead of the placid bank of earthen levee behind the spot where Mr. Reed was fishing, bulldozers could be shaping the terrain to add height and width to the levee. Dump trucks could be bringing their heavy loads of clay-rich earth drawn from borrow pits in the area. But for now there is no noise to disturb Mr. Reed.

Corps officials say the early work was done in the spirit of addressing a crisis, when they had broad latitude to get the job done. Officials on the ground, who call the current lull a “strategic pause,” say the new work has to be planned with great care. And they say it is a greater challenge to design and build new flood protection—the bulk of the second-phase work—than it is to patch breaches.


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By felicity, December 5, 2006 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Did everybody see the word “budget” in this post? As of March ‘07 we will have spent $400 billion in Iraq - apparently far more important than New Orleans begging for a measly $6 billion. 

(Democrats hoping to reduce interest rates on college loans, at the amazing cost of $3 billion per year don’t think it can be done because they “probably can’t find the money.”) 

If Iraqis had been given the contracts to rebuild their country rather than Americans etc. it would have cost us 90% less than what it’s going to cost us.

Who says Iraq isn’t a cash cow for the military/industrial/fat cat complex - at an enormous expense to the rest of us.

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By mite, December 5, 2006 at 9:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Congress must have no financial investments in New Orleans. The citizens in New Orleans need to march upon Wall Street and demand their gold back from the Federal Reserve Banks. Click on `The Truth About The Federal Reserve Bank’

Congress keeps obtaining loans from these Banks for the war in Iraq and financing the military, Halaburton, etc, but to hell with you in New Orleans. The federal reserve is against the Constitution and Congress knows it.

The press and media sure stopped covering New Orleans. Check out this web site citizens and employer’s, it explains how income tax is not legal by the constitution and irs’s own tax code’s.

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