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New Orleans Levees Underfunded

New Orleans Levees Underfunded - New Orleans Levees...

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New Orleans Levees Underfunded, Incomplete, Congress Told WASHINGTON, DC , September 29, 2005 (ENS) - The hurricane protection levees surrounding New Orleans were a work in progress that was chronically underfunded, a top natural resources official with the investigative branch of Congress told a House subcommittee hearing on Wednesday. The levees broke in many places during and immediately after Hurricane Katrina, flooding the bowl-shaped city and causing billions of dollars worth of damage and the loss of an undetermined number of lives. Anu Mittal, one of five directors on the Government Accountability Office's (GAO) Natural Resources and Environment team, told the legislators that Congress first authorized the Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity, Louisiana Hurricane Protection Project in the Flood Control Act of 1965. The project was to construct a series of control structures, concrete floodwalls, and levees to provide hurricane protection to areas around Lake Pontchartrain she told the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. The project, when designed, was expected to take about 13 years to complete and cost about $85 million, Mittal said. Although federally authorized, it was a joint federal, state, and local effort. But the Lake Pontchartrain hurricane project has been under construction for nearly 40 years, much longer than originally envisioned and at much greater cost, and the project is still not complete. Critics of the Bush administration's Hurricane Katrina response have charged that the levees broke because the administration diverted funding that might have gone to finish the project to pay for the war in Iraq or for tax cuts.
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