Thank you Madam Chairman, and Senator Vitter. I appreciate the opportunity to participate in today’s hearing, the latest in a series of oversight hearings conducted by this Committee since the devastation caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. New Orleans is a very special city to many Americans, and also to me personally. My wife Dianne and I honeymooned here 38 years ago, and my son John is a graduate of Tulane University. New Orleans holds a special place in my family’s hearts. I’ll be brief in my opening remarks so that we can get to our witnesses, except to say the following.
Given this Committee’s jurisdiction over the Civil Works mission of the Army Corps of Engineers, and given my position as the Ranking Member on the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, I am especially interested in hearing from the Corps regarding their hurricane response operations and their ongoing reconstruction and restoration efforts in the New Orleans area. I pledge to do all I can to work with my colleagues on this Committee and in the Senate to provide the proper oversight of the Corps, and resources to the Corps, to ensure that they fulfill their obligations to the people of New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Gulf Coast.
I am also interested in hearing from our witnesses regarding disaster debris management and removal. This issue is, in my mind, equally critical to facilitate the recovery here in New Orleans. As we saw today at the Gentilly Landfill, the types and amounts of debris generated by the storms is just staggering. We need to be sure that the manner in which we handle these wastes does not pose a threat to human health or the health of the environment here in New Orleans and Louisiana.
Thank you again Senator Boxer and Senator Vitter, and I yield back the balance of my time.