Statement of Senator James M. Jeffords, I-Vt.
Environment and Public Works Committee Hearing
Good morning. Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to once again be here to receive testimony regarding reconstruction of the flood control system in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Today, we will hear from the Army Corps of Engineers and multiple experts regarding the rebuilding of the levees and whether or not the Corps is considering the preliminary information regarding levee failures as it rebuilds in New Orleans. Last week, I said that without adequate flood control, redevelopment will be impossible. It is imperative that as we try to rebuild flood control quickly, in preparation for another hurricane season, we do not build a fatally flawed system that could further erode public confidence and slow redevelopment. It is part of this Committee’s responsibility as the Committee of jurisdiction for the Army Corps to ensure that water resources are a positive force in the redevelopment of New Orleans, not a hurdle to be overcome. Today’s hearing will, I hope, identify what needs to be done to ensure that our initial rebuild is effective. That will be the first step in what should be a comprehensive, integrated water resources plan to provide flood protection and restore ecosystems.