• 70°

We should rebuild lost cities

By Staff
Last Thursday, President Bush made an impassioned speech from Jackson Square in New Orleans, La., detailing the efforts the federal government will make in the coming months and years to help those displaced as a result of Hurricane Katrina.
While there is no official price tag for the effort at this time, some speculate the costs could exceed $200 billion, roughly the cost of the Iraq war and reconstruction.
Clearly, this is a large sum of money, and my hope is that the costs do not reach this magnitude. But I agree with the president that we need to do all we can to re-build the great city of New Orleans, as well as the other cities and communities along the Gulf Coast, including some in South Alabama that were truly devastated by the storm.
Additionally, we must take every appropriate step to ensure that the money we spend from your tax dollars is spent wisely, and will not be subject to rampant waste, fraud and abuse.
In my view, it is of the utmost importance that we closely monitor reconstruction spending and reduce as much as possible – hopefully eliminate – instances where your tax dollars are not put to good use. As you know, we have already appropriated over $62 billion towards the relief effort, a great sum of money in itself, and I simply want to ensure that the dollars are spent wisely, and are not subject to local, state, or federal government waste.
In addition to concerns I have with Katrina relief spending, I also am concerned about the environmental implications we could face as the contaminated water continues to be pumped out of New Orleans into Lake Pontchartrain.
Early on, my office contacted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to express concern about contaminated water in the disaster area along the Gulf Coast, and the possibility of long-term, adverse effects on the Gulf of Mexico.
I am pleased to report that EPA is working closely with its federal and state partners to reduce and mitigate environmental impacts in affected areas. As the Corps of Engineers continues un-watering operations in the city of New Orleans, booms are being deployed to remove oil and debris from water prior to pumping. After pumping, booms are also deployed in the canals leading to Lake Pontchartrain to further reduce oil and debris. These efforts are encouraging, but we must continue to do all we can to ensure the contaminated flood waters make as minimal an impact on our region as possible.
Senate Confirmation Hearings
On the other side of the Capitol, the U. S. Senate began their confirmation hearings last week of Judge John Roberts to become the next Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, replacing the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist.
On the other side of the Capitol, the U.S. Senate began their confirmation hearings last week of Judge John Roberts to become the next Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, replacing the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist.
Mobile's own Sen. Jeff Sessions is a key member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and, as a result, participated in the committee