Maintaining Adequate Flood Protection in New Orleans Has Been Shortchanged for Several Decades
With the advent of the Bush administration, the neglect worsened. From 2003 on, the invasion and occupation of Iraq absorbed huge amounts of resources.
Since 2001 Louisiana experts and politicians have asked for nearly $500 million in federal money for flood protection. The Bush administration requested only $166 million, though Congress approved about $250 million. Only two months prior to Katrina, the White House again wielded its budget axe, slashing funds for the New Orleans branch of the Army Corps of Engineers by $71 million—a 44 percent reduction from 2001.
Richard A. Serrano and Nicole Gaouette, “Despite Warnings, Washington Failed to Fund Levee Projects,” Los Angeles Times, 4 September 2005.
Geoffrey Lean, “Warnings Went Ignored as Bush Slashed Flood Defense Budget to Pay for Wars,” The Independent, 4 September 2005.
Center for American Progress, “Here's the Story of a Hurricane.”