Our government has earmarked billions of dollars in funds to aid disaster victims in New Orleans and Galveston, to rebuild the cites and enhance the coastlines. Why can’t we round up people who are technically intelligent who are out of work, underemployed and offer to ship them to those areas to help the Army Corp of Engineers to rebuild the areas. Call it a 911 Enviro Corps. Pay the workers, get the property owners in New Orleans and the city program to rent renovated homes, or provide an incentive to the home owners to rent cheap to
people working on their levees, etc.
According to a report from the Associated Press published on http://www.nola.com today 11-18-2008: BATON ROUGE — More than one-third of the $13.4 billion in federal block grant aid given to Louisiana after hurricanes Katrina and Rita remains unspent, according to information provided Tuesday to the state’s hurricane recovery panel.
Though the money all has been earmarked to specific recovery programs, about $5 billion hasn’t been used three years after the storms, Paul Rainwater, the governor’s hurricane recovery chief, told the Louisiana Recovery Authority board.
Restoring the wetlands:
The Army corp of Engineers has embarked on a broader study of how to restore wetlands and land features lost to erosion caused by ships and barges using the MR-GO and by construction of the ill-fated shipping channel itself. That study was authorized by the 2007 Water Resources Development Act, but Congress must still approve and appropriate money for any projects it recommends.
The 2007 water act also ordered deauthorization of the MR-GO as a navigation channel. A $24.7 million rock dike is to be built across the channel at Bayou la Loutre in St. Bernard Parish by June 1, 2009.
The corps already has spent about $5 million of the $75 million appropriated by Congress in 2005 for a small wetlands-restoration project and some armoring along the MR-GO.
Why not authorize the Army Corp of Engineers to work shifts and bring in more workers to speed up the process. If we can’t get those major problems solved now, then we more than likely will have another major hurricane problem in the coming year which will create even more destruction.
To solve a portion of this projected problem these items could fulfill immediate needs:
more homes to rent
more job opportunities
More time spent on the problems of many of the ills of the city will be solved. The city has a home program to use underutilized properties. As you know unemployment or under employment is one of societies major disasters in terms of too much time on idle hands.
Yes, the Army Corp of Engineers will have to train many of these people, but that would be a boon to everyone. A separate training program would help certify people to do this type of work and our people will be much better prepared to tackle hurricanes which are supposed to be more prevalent in the future at our coastlines.
The cities of New Orleans and Galveston need to have the funds released as soon as possible to rebuild with better building codes and more preemptive measures to address safety issues. One measure to ensure that each city will have the proper attention it deserves would be one central director who would handle each city because of its uniqueness. A person who has experience in natural environmental issues who has disaster recovery experience would do fine. How about former President Jimmy Carter to fulfill that tall order?