WASHINGTON - September 22 - U.S. Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI) and John
McCain (R-AZ) have written a letter to President Bush to enlist his
continued support for independent review of Army Corps of Engineers
projects. In July, the Senate passed the Water Resources Development
Act (WRDA) which included a Feingold-McCain amendment authorizing independent
review of corps projects. During consideration of the Senate WRDA bill,
the administration weighed in on behalf of reforming the Corps, including
independent peer review.
“To not learn from the lessons of Hurricane Katrina would be
a colossal failure on the part of Congress,” Feingold said. “I
look forward to the President’s continued support of commonsense
provisions aimed at fixing how the Army Corps of Engineers operates.
The Senate WRDA bill ends ‘business as usual’ for the Corps
and it is essential that the final bill passed by Congress reflect these
post-Katrina lessons, as well.”
“It is imperative that we concentrate our efforts on improving
the effectiveness of the Army Corps of Engineers,” McCain said.
“Indeed, human lives could depend on it. Independent review of
the Army Corps projects is necessary to encourage budgetary responsibility
and ensure that the horrors of Katrina are not repeated.”
The Senate Homeland Security Committee’s investigation of Hurricane
Katrina revealed that water resource and development projects sanctioned
and constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers contributed to this catastrophe.
The Army Corps of Engineers’ own Katrina report, issued on June
1, 2006, concluded that design flaws in the levees were a major factor
in the devastating flooding of New Orleans. The WRDA bill is currently
in conference to work out differences between the Senate version and
the House version, which passed in July 2005 prior to Hurricane Katrina.
Feingold and McCain also wrote to Senate leadership earlier this week
urging them to work to retain the Senate-passed reforms.
A copy of the Feingold-McCain letter to the President can be viewed