Fed funding for New Orleans flood control had been cut

Wednesday, August 31, 2005 at 06:55 AM

Editor & Publisher has a story indicating that federal funding for hurricane and flood protection in New Orleans has been down recently, with the cut coinciding with the need for funds for Iraq.

In "Did New Orleans Catastrophe Have to Happen? 'Times-Picayune' Had Repeatedly Raised Federal Spending Issues," by Will Bunch (8/30), says that "after 2003, the flow of federal dollars toward SELA [the acronym for the flood control project] dropped to a trickle. The Corps never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security -- coming at the same time as federal tax cuts -- was the reason for the strain."

The local officials are, according to the story, now saying that had Washington heeded their warnings about the dire need for hurricane protection, including building up levees and repairing barrier islands, "the damage might not have been nearly as bad as it turned out to be."  The spending pattern does appear to back that up, although I don't doubt that local New Orleans officials are also desperate to escape being blamed by a very angry electorate for the current nightmare in that city.

The full story is here E&P