During President Barack Obama's visit to communities in Louisiana to inspect damage from Hurricane Isaac, U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., delivered a letter to him regarding the ongoing federal response.
"I urge that you require FEMA to quickly complete its damage assessment," the letter reads. "Communities that have been devastated by Hurricane Isaac floodwaters should receive the maximum assistance available under the law, including robust individual assistance, as quickly as possible to aid in a speedy recovery."
The letter also stresses the need to increase funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, so that it can upgrade flood protection infrastructure to better protect communities from future storms.
"As you are aware, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is routinely underfunded and today's challenges require a much more substantial investment. Currently, less than $2 billion is budgeted for construction and there is a backlog of between $40-$60 billion in authorized projects," the letter reads. "The region's Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System performed as intended, preventing a repeat of the 2005 devastation. Similar systems in other areas would have prevented comparable damage from Isaac, but there have been no upgrades due to insufficient funding. Comparable infrastructure challenges exist throughout the nation. I look forward to working with you and other likeminded members of Congress to move the Corps budget to a more responsible level."
In the letter, Sen. Landrieu urges the President to secure equitable revenue sharing for coastal communities so they can use these funds for flood protection. Currently, onshore states receive 50 percent of revenues; coastal states, particularly Louisiana, should receive a similar allotment. Sen. Landrieu also thanks the President for signing the RESTORE Act into law, noting that it is a strong down payment on Louisiana's Coastal Master Plan.