June 1st, 2008 22:00 EST
Levee Protection in New Orleans
New Orleans, LA. ... General Doug O`Dell, federal coordinator for Gulf Coast Rebuilding, along with Brigadier General Michael Walsh of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), recently hosted a media conference call to discuss hurricane protection in New Orleans in preparation for the upcoming hurricane season beginning June 1.
"Let me get this straight here and now - hurricane protection in New Orleans is better now than ever before but some risk will remain, " O`Dell said. "It`s a top priority for every level of government to be open and transparent with the good people of the New Orleans area about the risks they may face this hurricane season and in the future. "
The New Orleans area has the best flood protection it has ever had. Since June 2006, the levees have been pre-Katrina strength or better and the Interagency Performance Evaluation Report (IPET) demonstrates the reduced risk based on the Corps` work. The president`s FY09 budget requests an additional $5.8 billion to complete 100-year level protection including interior drainage improvements, for a total federal commitment of almost $13 billion, and the Corps currently is on track to meet its goal of completing 100-year protection by 2011.
"I understand the worry many people in New Orleans have about the levees, " stated O`Dell. "But I want to assure them the federal government understands that strong hurricane defense is key to the city`s recovery and the Corps is diligently working to strengthen the city`s hurricane protection systems - it`s a top priority for the president and me and we continue to monitor progress. "
The Office of the Federal Coordinator for Gulf Coast Rebuilding has been engaged in facilitating and streamlining the recovery effort, providing key federal support and resources to state and local leaders, as well as reinforcing the federal government`s commitment to the people of the Gulf Coast.
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: Brendan Lacivita (202) 572-8878