That's a pretty ballsy statement that surely won't make the oil industry, especially in Louisiana, happy. But you have to hand to Landrieu, she's fight tooth, nail and claw to ensure Louisiana doesn't suffer from another disastrous hurricane like Katrina again. Landrieu is taking the lead on this issue and her opponent, Rep. Bill Cassidy (R. LA), is also trying to look serious about this issue:Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said Wednesday that Louisiana ought to shut down all of the oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico until the House of Representatives agrees to fund a much-needed levee project in her state designed to protect against Katrina-type storms.
"If I could, I’d shut down every rig in the Gulf of Mexico until this United States Congress gives the people of Louisiana the money we need to keep ourselves from drowning, from flooding, and I’d turn the lights off in Washington, and in New York and in Maine," Landrieu said on the Senate floor after Republicans on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee introduced a water infrastructure bill stripped of funding for the Morganza-to-the-Gulf levee project.The Morganza levee system is a planned state-federal project designed to shield 98 miles of Louisiana coast from furious storms and rising sea levels. But when the committee introduced its version of the Water Resource Development Act on Wednesday, it didn't include the $10.3 billion Morganza program that the Senate approved in May.
The extra dollars that House Republicans don't want to spend could end up saving taxpayers money in the long-run. As climate change drastically increases the risk of coastal flooding, the cost of damage will be severe. A recent FEMA report found that Hurricane Katrina put the $16 billion in the hole; Sandy cost us $25 billion. The Morganza project would cost an average $716 million a year to build and maintain but would prevent an estimated $1 billion a year in flood-related damage, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. - Mother Jones, 9/12/13
But Landrieu has been standing strong on this issue:Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, Landrieu's Senate opponent in 2014, said he would fight to get Morganza to the Gulf authorization restored into the WRDA bill
"The process is not yet over. I will continue to push to have it included in the final version of the bill," said Cassidy who praised some Corps of Engineers reforms included in the House water resources bill.
Aides to Sen. David Vitter, R-La., who helped draft the Senate bill that includes the Morganza to the Gulf project, expressed confidence the bill that finally emerges will include the project. Some Louisiana officials call Morganza to the Gulf the state's most important remaining flood protection project for Louisiana.
The Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013 legislation introduced Wednesday by the bipartisan leaders of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee includes many of the same provisions of the Senate-passed bill. - The Times-Picayune, 9/11/13
And Landrieu has been going after one specific member of her delegation to get the funding:Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., was critical of the absence of the Morganza-to-the-Gulf project. The 21-year-old, $10.5 billion, oft-delayed Morganza project involves a series of levees, locks and other systems through Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes that should, when complete, protect about 200,000 people against storm surges such as those caused by Hurricane Katrina.
Final authorization remains pending — past authorizations lapsed — and many questions persist about how the project will be funded.
Landrieu said she is “extremely concerned” that House leaders “decided to drop the most important project for Louisiana.”
These residents have suffered from “flood after flood after flood” and “taxed themselves” to pay for aspects of the project.
Landrieu called on the Louisiana House members to ensure the project is added into the bill.
“That bill will never see the light of day unless Morganza is put back,” Landrieu insisted. - The Advocate, 9/12/13
Not only that, Landirue's been the lead member of her delegation calling for a delay in flood insurance premium hikes:Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., is putting Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, out on the limb as she argues for Congress to include authorization for Gulf to Morganza levee protection in a pending water resources bill. And Scalise doesn't' seem to like it.
Landrieu spoke on the Senate floor Wednesday several hours after the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee unveiled a water resources (WRDA) bill without authorization for the 98-mile-long, $10.3 billon Morganza to the Gulf hurricane levee system designed to project Houma and surrounding communities from storm surges. Landrieu noted that the Senate-passed water resources bill includes the project, and the Army Corps of Engineers had certified it as "economically justified, environmentally acceptable and engineeringly sound."
"I am calling on the Louisiana delegation to stand, particularly members who are in the study committee," Landrieu said. "I think we have a leader of that committee, Congressman Steve Scalise, who was my partner in the Restore Act, and has been a very able leader in our delegation, to absolutely put their foot down on this WRDA bill moving any further in the House of Representatives until we can get justice for this project," Landrieu said.
Landrieu was alluding, of course, to the Republican Study Committee, the large and influential conservative caucus that Scalise heads. The committee is best known for fighting to eliminate federal funding, not so much to authorize an expensive project. Still, Scalise, like most Louisiana congressional members, has been an advocate for the Morganza to the Gulf levee. - The Times-Picayune, 9/12/13
Landrieu has a tough re-election campaign next year, but that's not stopping her from doing what she has to do in order to prevent the next Hurricane Katrina from happening. I commend her actions and if you would like to thank her, please do contribute to her re-election campaign:Members of the Louisiana congressional delegation are asking the four leaders of the House and Senate to include language in an omnibus spending bill to delay some increases in flood insurance premiums resulting from "reform" legislation enacted one year ago.
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., organized the letter and obtained signatures from every member of the Louisiana delegation except for Rep. John Fleming, R-Minden. The letter was sent to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio; House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; along with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.; and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
The letter notes that the House already approved the amendment, as part of a homeland security spending bill, and the Senate Appropriations Committee included identical language in its homeland security measure,
But it appears that Congress won't be able to agree on separate spending bills, and instead will enact a catch-all bill covering spending for most, if not all, federal agencies for at least several months. That would be the norm for Congress in recent years with partisan gridlock making "regular order" on budget issues an unobtainable task.
"Last year, Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and to make it self-sustainable," reads the Louisiana delegation letter to the four leaders. "This legislation aims to make NFIP actuarially sound but it fails to make flood insurance accessible and affordable, leaving millions of policies holders in Louisiana and across the country in dire straits and facing exorbitant rate increases."
"Our delegation is united in our efforts to fix this law and find a way forward that will." - The Times-Picayune, 9/9/13