Levees.org comments on $9 million payment to USACE for shoddy levees

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Anthony Bertucci calls in the status of the floodwall at London Avenue Canal’s upper breach near Robert E. Lee Boulevard. Bertucci is from New Orleans District’s Construction Division.

A few days ago, the east bank levee authority agreed to pay $9 million to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a final payment of its share of the cost of building the New Orleans portion of the pre-Katrina hurricane levee system.

Founder Sandy Rosenthal was asked to comment on the payment in light of the fact that levee breaches and floodwall failures led to around 80% of the city being flooded, widespread displacement and hundreds of deaths.

Here’s Rosenthal’s comment:

“On August 29, 2005, the system failed in over 50 locations, flooded a major metropolis, displaced hundreds of thousands and killed nearly 1400 people,” she said. “The failures were due to the Corps’ design and construction errors. We don’t think the Corps should get so much as a dime from the Flood Protection Authority-East.”

The full story by Mark Schleifstein can be seen here.

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The Heat is On Over Governor Landry’s Plans for the CPRA

Levees.org’s kickoff rally at New Orleans District Army Corps HQ on Jan 21, 2006. Photo/Stanford Rosenthal

Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) has completed 157 projects, benefiting 55,000 acres of coastal wetlands, improving 370 miles of levees and constructing 70 miles of barrier islands.

Now, we feel like its success may be in jeopardy, with the governor’s suggestion to move the flood protection functions currently housed at CPRA under the Department of Energy and Natural Resources (DENR), the newly renamed Department of Natural Resources.

It’s difficult to understand why the state has proposed changes to something that works – and works well. CPRA is now the standard bearer for national efforts to protect people, assets and the natural environment from the threats of hurricanes and sea-level rise. The program that has evolved is supported by countless advocates from a diverse group of stakeholders including community groups, industry, environmental organizations and business interests. The CPRA’s nationally and internationally recognized accomplishments are the result of the agency’s singular focus on coastal protection and restoration.

After Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. Congress passed millions in appropriations along with Public Law 109-148, ordering the State of Louisiana to establish a single state or quasi-state entity to act as local sponsor for construction, operation and maintenance of all of the hurricane and flood control projects in the greater New Orleans and southeast Louisiana. The state complied, creating the CPRA.

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Levees.org says NO to Governor Landry’s plan for the CPRA

One of Louisiana Governor Landry’s first items on his agenda was to alter the structure of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA).

The CPRA was created after the levees broke to act as a single state agency to work with the Army Corps of Engineers on flood protection for New Orleans and the Louisiana coast.

The CPRA has been highly effective due largely to its stand-alone structure.

But the Governor wants to place the CPRA under Louisiana’s Department of Energy and Natural Resources. This will dilute the CPRA’s effectiveness. Further, the Governor wants to reduce the number of experts who donate their expertise for the good of Louisiana residents.

This plan appears more about control than about public safety.

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