Tuesday, September 06, 2005

How are the levee failures Bush's fault if......

...the levees were:

- 90% completed in 1999.

- Not slated to be complete until 2013.

&

- Never designed to withstand over a CAT 3 hurricane.


Anyone?




NEW ORLEANS --

Even though Hurricane Georges was a near-miss for New Orleans, projects built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its local sponsors prevented an estimated $749 million of damages from the September 1998 storm in the region of Lake Pontchartrain alone.

The damages prevented are for the Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity Hurricane Protection project, which is in four parishes and lies between the Mississippi River and Lakes Pontchartrain and Borgne. Construction began in 1967 and is years from completion. The damages prevented are for the Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity Hurricane Protection project, which is in four parishes and lies between the Mississippi River and Lakes Pontchartrain and Borgne. Construction began in 1967 and is years from completion.

Economists of the Corps' New Orleans district base their estimates of flood damages prevented on property loss that would have occurred without Corps projects.

The cumulative total is estimated at $9.69 billion for flood damages prevented by the Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity project, which was authorized after Hurricane Betsy ravaged the area in September 1965. The cumulative damages prevented, however, represent only 1983-98 inclusive, the period for which data is available.

"During Hurricane Georges, our project not only worked, it demonstrated its worthiness as a public investment in dollars," said Col. William L. Conner, commander of the New Orleans District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

"The $749 million of damages prevented by the Lake Pontchartrain project in 1998 alone exceed the expected total cost of $732 million upon completion in 2013," Conner said. "Most of the project is built, but clearly we have more work to do."

The work completed ranges from 90 percent in Orleans Parish to 20 percent in the project's newest area, St. Charles Parish. The project also protects St. Bernard and Jefferson parishes.

The Lake Pontchartrain project has 80 miles of levees and 17.9 miles of floodwalls. The average levee is 16 feet above sea level. It is designed to protect the New Orleans area from hurricanes with the destructive force of Betsy, a fast-moving Category 3 storm.

The Corps is contributing $520 million. The remaining $212 million is being paid by the four levee districts that are the local sponsors: The Orleans Levee District, the Lake Borgne Basin & Levee District, the East Jefferson Levee District, and the Pontchartrain Levee District.

The Corps at present does not develop estimates of flood damages prevented by other hurricane-protection projects in the New Orleans District. The largest is the West Bank - Vicinity of New Orleans Hurricane Protection Project, whose origin dates from the Water Resources Development Act of 1986.

The West Bank project is estimated to cost $294 million, with completion in 2018. The project is located on the west bank of the Mississippi River in Jefferson, Orleans and Plaquemines parishes. The Corps is contributing $192 million and the local sponsor, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, $102 million.