So much for the Libtards claiming Bush funding cuts caused the levees to break.
U.S. Army Corps of
Release No. PA-09-01
For Immediate Release: September 3, 2005
Contact: Connie Gillette: 202-761-1809
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Hurricane Relief Support
and Levee Repair
The breaches that have occurred on the levees surrounding New Orleans are
located on the 17th Street Canal Levee and London Avenue Canal Levee.
The 17th Street Canal Levees and London Avenue Canal Levees are completed
segments of the Lake Ponchartrain and Vicinity Hurricane Protection
Project. Although other portions of the Lake Ponchartrain project are pending,
these two segments were complete, and no modifications or improvements
to these segments were pending, proposed, or remain unfunded.
Three major pending projects are in various stages of development: two hurricane
protection projects -- the West Bank and Vicinity project and the remaining
portions of the Lake Ponchartrain project, and the Southeast Louisiana flood
damage reduction project.
Even if these three projects in development were completed and in place, they
would not have prevented the breach and the flooding caused by the breach. Like
the levee that was breached, the hurricane protection projects were designed to
withstand forces of a hurricane that has a .5% chance of occurrence in any given
year. This translates to what is now classified as a Category 3 hurricane.
The Administration's Fiscal Year 2006 budget request for the four main New
Orleans flood control projects [West Bank, Southeast Louisiana, Lake
Ponchartrain, and New Orleans-Venice] was $41.5 million.
The perception of cuts to the Corps budget may come from a misunderstanding of
construction project funding practices or from comparing the Administration's
budget request to the Corps' project capability figures for these four main projects,
which for FY2006 totaled $142.7 million.
Annual project funding is based on a variety of factors, including an analysis of
the work that can be completed in an upcoming year and the work that already has
been completed in a previous year. Funding levels may vary as a project
progresses toward completion. Assumptions that these year-to-year changes
reflect a change in a projects' prioritization or are intended to cha nge the rate of its
progress fail to take into account the broader factors necessary to manage
resources in an organization that is simultaneously completing multiple
Additionally, project capability figures are not budget requests and do not
represent a request by the Corps for funding. Instead, project capability figures
represent the maximum amount of work on a project that the Corps estimates
could be accomplished in a given year, assuming an unlimited supply of
resources--financial, manpower, equipment, and construction materials.
Project capability amounts are rarely funded. If full capability funding were
provided for every project in a given year, it would be very difficult to complete
all the work because it would likely not be possible to secure sufficient Corps or
contractor personnel to construct all projects at the same time. The same holds
true for specific regions of the country. If full capability funding were provided
for every project in the same region or locality, completing all the work would be
very difficult given the significant strain this would place on existing contracting,
staffing, equipment and material resources.
[Quotes below are from Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, Commander of the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers, and Chief of Engineers, and are excerpted from his remarks during
a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Special Briefing for the media via conference
call on Thursday, September 1, 2005 at 1 p.m. EDT. A full transcript is available
from the Public Affairs Office at (202) 761-0011.]
There have been suggestions that inadequate funding for levee projects
delayed their completion and resulted in the flooding of New Orleans.
GEN. STROCK: "In fact, the levee failures we saw were in areas of the projects
that were at their full project design... So that part of the project was in place, and
had this project been fully complete ... [West Bank, Southeast Louisiana, and
Lake Ponchartrain] it's my opinion, based on the intensity of this storm, that the
flooding of the Central Business District and the French Quarter would still have
occurred. So I do not see that the level of funding is really a contributing factor in
There have also been suggestions that the Corps of Engineers was unable to
fully fund flood control needs in New Orleans or elsewhere because funding
was diverted to the Global War on Terror.
GEN. STROCK: "Let me also address the issue of the general impact of the war
in Iraq on civil works funding. We've seen some suggestions that our budget has
been affected by the war. I can also say that I do not see that to be the case. If
you look at the historical levels of funding for the Corps of Engineers from the
pre-war levels back to 1992, '91, before we actually got into this, you'll see that
the level of funding has been fairly stable throughout that period. So I think we
would see that our funding levels would have dropped off if that were the case; so
I do not see that as an issue that is relevant to the discussion of the flood
protection of the City of New Orleans."
Finally, some believe that New Orleans flooded because there were
inadequate coastal wetlands in Southern Louisiana to absorb the storm
GEN. STROCK: "Again, my assessment in this case is that any loss of wetlands
in the barrier islands associated with those processes did not have a significant
impact on this event. I say this because the storm track took it east of the City of
New Orleans, and most of those barrier islands and marshlands are located to the
south and west of the city; so the storm did not track through that direction
anyway, and I don't think that that was a contributing factor in the situation."