Friday, May 30, 2008

Army Corps News Release on New Orleans Levees

Here is a quote from the release:
“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.”

I saw this news release and thought I would comment on it. I am currently contributing on some research related to individual's willingness-to-pay for rebuilding New Orleans. One aspect of this research is related to individual's willingness-to-pay for levee repair. I thought this quote was interesting because it makes me wonder about the specifics of the existing protection. The levees may be better than ever before, but what does that say? Sounds like a relative measure. What type of storm can New Orleans withstand? This article states that New Orleans is currently at pre-Katrina strength or better and that the Corps will meet its goal of completing 100-year protection by 2011. What does that mean if a high Category 3 storm hits New Orleans this year?

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