Corps officials: Funding levels not to blame for flooding

Earlier today, I blogged about an article from the Chicago Tribune that discussed how the US Army Corps of Engineers had been the target of funding cuts since 1965 (you had to dig that out of the article, but it was there). If you’ve done any travelling around the lefty blogosphere today you’ve probably seen how often this article has been cited to show how the levee breaks that happened in New Orleans were Bush’s fault due to funding cuts advocated by both him and Congress. Here’s a follow up piece from the Tribune this evening (emphasis added):

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Thursday that a lack of funding for hurricane-protection projects around New Orleans did not contribute to the disastrous flooding that followed Hurricane Katrina. In a telephone interview with reporters, corps officials said that although portions of the flood-protection levees remain incomplete, the levees near Lake Pontchartrain that gave way–inundating much of the city–were completed and in good condition before the hurricane.

However, they noted that the levees were designed for a Category 3 hurricane and couldn’t handle the ferocious winds and raging waters from Hurricane Katrina, which was a Category 4 storm when it hit the coastline. The decision to build levees for a Category 3 hurricane was made decades ago based on a cost-benefit analysis.

"I don’t see that the level of funding was really a contributing factor in this case," said Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, chief of engineers for the corps. "Had this project been fully complete, it is my opinion that based on the intensity of this storm that the flooding of the business district and the French Quarter would have still taken place."

Of course, we’ll never know for sure. But you can best believe from here on out, the ACE budget will increase dramatically.  And they’ll get that money (as they should).

(Cross posted at BlogsForBush)

Update: Rob at Say Anything (which has become one of my favorite blogs) has a couple of excellent posts on the the "blame W" game being played right now by so many on the left in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  Click here and here to read ’em.

Update II: Don’t forget you can still contribute to the American Red Cross Hurricane 2005 Relief Fund or any one (or more!)  of a number of other great organizations out there mobilizing to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina.  If you do contribute, please log it here at the TTLB contribution page as he is tracking the amount of money raised from each blog.  Logging it is totally anonymous – in other words, you don’t have to give a name.  Just an amount, the charity you donated to, and the blog that encouraged you to do so.

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