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Conference Report On H.R. 3183, Energy And Water Development And Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010

Floor Speech

Location: Washington D.C.


Mr. SCALISE. I want to thank the gentleman from New Jersey for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this conference report. There was language in this bill that was stripped in the conference report that would have directed the Corps of Engineers to pursue a much safer level of flood protection for the New Orleans region.

Our entire delegation, Republicans and Democrats, were unanimous in support of the language that was in the bill, and the conference report stripped out that language, which would have directed the Corps to pursue a much safer option than the one they're currently pursuing.

If we have learned anything from the lessons of Katrina, it's that the Federal levees that failed us before cannot be rebuilt the same way they were the last time that they failed. There's too much taxpayer money that's been put at stake for us to get this wrong. And so we much more support the option that would have actually made sure that the Corps gets it right for all the money that's being spent as opposed to the route that they're choosing right now.

Option 2a, which was the language that we would have directed the Corps to pursue, is known as Pump to the River. According to the Corps's own report, Pump to the River, this option 2a that's being thrown out by this report, is more technically advantageous than the one they're pursuing. It's more operationally effective than the one the Corps is pursuing. It provides greater reliability, and, most importantly, it further reduces the risk of flooding.

That's the option that our entire State delegation, that our Governor's office, that all the people back home--the city of New Orleans, the parish of Jefferson--fully support; an option that reduces the risk of flooding. That's what we should all support after what we saw happen during Hurricane Katrina; yet that language that we had unanimous support from our delegation that was in the bill is now being stripped out by this conference report.

We need to learn from the lessons of Katrina. And it's time this administration stopped paying lip service to our flood protection needs and actually put its money where its mouth is and do the right thing as opposed to making the same mistakes that were made in the past.

We cannot afford to let them go forward with building an option that, by their own admission, is much less reliable in protecting the people of New Orleans for future flooding, so I rise in opposition.

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