U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) today said that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has agreed to conduct an independent analysis and review as to whether, and to what extent, the post-Katrina system contributed to flooding in areas like Plaquemines, St. John, St. Tammany and Tangipahoa parishes because of a funneling effect or similar impact. The review will be done by the Louisiana Water Resources Council, an entity created by language Vitter authored in the Water Resources Development Act of 2007.
"I'm very pleased the Corps will heed our advice to get an independent review," Vitter said. "The additional input and expert analysis will help us better determine the best steps forward on flood protection for all areas inside and outside of the post-Katrina system."
Vitter previously asked the U.S. Corps of Engineers to get an expert, independent review on whether and to what extent the Hurricane Protection System put in place after Hurricane Katrina made flooding worse in parts of southeast Louisiana that are outside of the system because of a funneling effect or similar impact. He also addressed this concern with the Corps during an aerial tour of southeast Louisiana on Saturday, September 1 2012.
In Case You Missed It: Vitter wrote an op-ed in the Times Picayune about his experience with the Corps during Hurricane Isaac. You can read the op-ed here: An inside look at disaster control: Editorial by Sen. David Vitter (Times Picayune).
Today, Vitter sent a letter to Dr. Charles Groat, President of the Water Institute of the Gulf, to ask for their analysis of the system as well. A copy of Vitter's letter is below.
September 12, 2012
Dr. Charles Groat
The Water Institute of the Gulf
301 N. Main Street, Suite 2000
Baton Rouge, LA 70825
Dear Dr. Groat:
Hurricane Isaac caused considerable rainfall and storm surge that lead to significant flooding in communities surrounding the Army Corps of Engineers' (Corps) post-Katrina hurricane protection system in metropolitan New Orleans. While the system performed well in this category 1 hurricane test, an obvious and legitimate question arises as to whether, and to what extent, the post-Katrina system contributed to flooding in areas like Plaquemines, St. John, St. Tammany and Tangipahoa parishes because of a funneling effect or similar impact.
In the days after the storm, I formally requested that the Corps perform a careful, scientific review of this issue by independent experts of areas that experienced significant flooding. I have received confirmation from the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, Jo-Ellen Darcy, and Chief of Engineers Lieutenant General Thomas Bostick that a study will be conducted and reviewed by the Louisiana Water Resources Council. LWRC is an independent review entity that I authorized in the 2007 Water Resources and Development Act. I fully expect this study to be completed in an expedited manner.
In addition to that independent review I would also request that you and your organization work carefully with the Corps, the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, and local flood protection agencies to help review this study and formulate your own independent conclusions of Hurricane Isaac's effects on the areas that experienced widespread flooding.
The additional input and expert analysis will help us better determine the best steps forward on flood protection for all areas inside and outside of the post-Katrina system. Please contact me if you have questions at 202-224-4623.
United States Senator