SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: DON'T REBUILD NEW ORLEANS

I pulled this item from the WWL forum. I have not been watching television today, so can anybody either confirm or deny this report?

Thursday, 2:55 p.m. CDT

By Bill Walsh
Washington bureau

WASHINGTON - House Speaker Dennis Hastert dropped a bombshell on flood-ravaged New Orleans on Thursday by suggesting that it isn’t sensible to rebuild the city.

\"It doesn't make sense to me,\" Hastert told the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago in editions published today. \"And it's a question that certainly we should ask.\"

Hastert's comments came as Congress cut short its summer recess and raced back to Washington to take up an emergency aid package expected to be $10 billion or more. Details of the legislation are still emerging, but it is expected to target critical items such as buses to evacuate the city, reinforcing existing flood protection and providing food and shelter for a growing population of refugees.

The Illinois Republican’s comments drew an immediate rebuke from Louisiana officials.

“That’s like saying we should shut down Los Angeles because it’s built in an earthquake zone,†former Sen. John Breaux, D-La., said. “Or like saying that after the Great Chicago fire of 1871, the U.S. government should have just abandoned the city.â€

Hastert said that he supports an emergency bailout, but raised questions about a long-term rebuilding effort. As the most powerful voice in the Republican-controlled House, Hastert is in a position to block any legislation that he opposes.

\"We help replace, we help relieve disaster,\" Hastert said. \"But I think federal insurance and everything that goes along with it... we ought to take a second look at that.\"

The speaker’s comments were in stark contrast to those delivered by President Bush during an appearance this morning on ABC’s “Good Morning America.â€

“I want the people of New Orleans to know that after rescuing them and stabilizing the situation, there will be plans in place to help this great city get back on its feet,†Bush said. “There is no doubt in my mind that New Orleans is going to rise up again as a great city.â€

Insurance industry executives estimated that claims from the storm could range up to $19 billion. Rebuilding the city, which is more than 80 percent submerged, could cost tens of billions of dollars more, experts projected.

Hastert questioned the wisdom of rebuilding a city below sea level that will continue to be in the path of powerful hurricanes.

\"You know we build Los Angeles and San Francisco on top of earthquake issures and they rebuild, too. Stubbornness,\" he said.

Hastert wasn't the only one questioning the rebuilding of New Orleans. The Waterbury, Conn., Republican-American newspaper wrote an editorial Wednesday entitled, \"Is New Orleans worth reclaiming?\"

\"Americans' hearts go out to the people in Katrina's path,\" it said. \"But if the people of New Orleans and other low-lying areas insist on living in harm's way, they ought to accept responsibility for what happens to them and their property.\"


 
he isint the only person thinking it and it is a very real question especially if another storm hits this year or next

afterall this storm dosent change the fact the city is below sea level with water on most sides
 
I'm all for rebuilding the port and refineries. The city itself? NO! Build a new city further inland with quick access roads to the Refineries and Ports.
 
Well..if you will notice my early comments, this was my way of thinking also. It just really suprises me to hear senior leadership making this statement...especially this soon.
 
Originally posted by Chris Sokol
I pulled this item from the WWL forum. I have not been watching television today, so can anybody either confirm or deny this report?

Thursday, 2:55 p.m. CDT

By Bill Walsh
Washington bureau

WASHINGTON - House Speaker Dennis Hastert dropped a bombshell on flood-ravaged New Orleans on Thursday by suggesting that it isn’t sensible to rebuild the city.

\"It doesn't make sense to me,\" Hastert told the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago in editions published today. \"And it's a question that certainly we should ask.\"

Hastert's comments came as Congress cut short its summer recess and raced back to Washington to take up an emergency aid package expected to be $10 billion or more. Details of the legislation are still emerging, but it is expected to target critical items such as buses to evacuate the city, reinforcing existing flood protection and providing food and shelter for a growing population of refugees.

The Illinois Republican’s comments drew an immediate rebuke from Louisiana officials.

“That’s like saying we should shut down Los Angeles because it’s built in an earthquake zone,†former Sen. John Breaux, D-La., said. “Or like saying that after the Great Chicago fire of 1871, the U.S. government should have just abandoned the city.â€

Hastert said that he supports an emergency bailout, but raised questions about a long-term rebuilding effort. As the most powerful voice in the Republican-controlled House, Hastert is in a position to block any legislation that he opposes.

\"We help replace, we help relieve disaster,\" Hastert said. \"But I think federal insurance and everything that goes along with it... we ought to take a second look at that.\"

The speaker’s comments were in stark contrast to those delivered by President Bush during an appearance this morning on ABC’s “Good Morning America.â€

“I want the people of New Orleans to know that after rescuing them and stabilizing the situation, there will be plans in place to help this great city get back on its feet,†Bush said. “There is no doubt in my mind that New Orleans is going to rise up again as a great city.â€

Insurance industry executives estimated that claims from the storm could range up to $19 billion. Rebuilding the city, which is more than 80 percent submerged, could cost tens of billions of dollars more, experts projected.

Hastert questioned the wisdom of rebuilding a city below sea level that will continue to be in the path of powerful hurricanes.

\"You know we build Los Angeles and San Francisco on top of earthquake issures and they rebuild, too. Stubbornness,\" he said.


This is going to be the next big political battle... I can see it already. What happens in NO will set the tone for which side may win the election in 2008.

\"Americans' hearts go out to the people in Katrina's path,\" it said. \"But if the people of New Orleans and other low-lying areas insist on living in harm's way, they ought to accept responsibility for what happens to them and their property.\"

He isn't the only one who thinks that way. FEMA works with this mindset as well. From what I believe, they will only help you rebuild once. If it happens again, you're on your own.

Here is my take for what NO can do.
1. Abadon the city.
2. Move the city northward to an area where it is above sea level and not threatened.
3. Build the city on top of the existing water. Stilt City anyone?
4. Pump out the water, rebuild the city and the levee system. The catch? To stop the city from skinking it must be allowed to flood every so often. That levee system is what's making the city sink.
 
So how many displaced south LA households is Illinois willing to adopt, settle, and care for with Hastert leading the charge? Pffffft! :p That's a question -- not a political comment.... :wink:
 
I agree with Chris. But I can see that so many people want their homes back. How do you deal with the worth of property? Is the federal government just going to give them money for land that will now be under the sea?

I think it's our duty to at least drain and remove as much hazardous material as possible.

Or evacuate and nuke the whole area - incinerate hazardous material. But that would introduce radiation. Pesky radiation.
 
Originally posted by Edward Ballou
I agree with Chris. But I can see that so many people want their homes back. How do you deal with the worth of property? Is the federal government just going to give them money for land that will now be under the sea?

I think it's our duty to at least drain and remove as much hazardous material as possible.

Or evacuate and nuke the whole area - incinerate hazardous material. But that would introduce radiation. Pesky radiation.

people arent going to be able to afford to live there with the rise in every single insurance rate ect
 
Originally posted by Kevin Bowman+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Kevin Bowman)</div>
<!--QuoteBegin-Edward Ballou
I agree with Chris. But I can see that so many people want their homes back. How do you deal with the worth of property? Is the federal government just going to give them money for land that will now be under the sea?

I think it's our duty to at least drain and remove as much hazardous material as possible.

Or evacuate and nuke the whole area - incinerate hazardous material. But that would introduce radiation. Pesky radiation.

people arent going to be able to afford to live there with the rise in every single insurance rate ect[/b]

Not to sound harsh, but it's interesting how things work themselves out. You literally pay the consequences.
 
I'm guessing a big part of the problem will sort itself out. Communities will probably grow around some of the refugee sites, and many people likely won't be able to afford to come back, even if they want to, with insurance, etc. There'll probably be a New Orleans at the same site as the old, but it'll be a mere shadow of its former self... with only a fraction of the population.
 
Originally posted by Edward Ballou+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Edward Ballou)</div>
Originally posted by Kevin Bowman@
<!--QuoteBegin-Edward Ballou

I agree with Chris. But I can see that so many people want their homes back. How do you deal with the worth of property? Is the federal government just going to give them money for land that will now be under the sea?

I think it's our duty to at least drain and remove as much hazardous material as possible.

Or evacuate and nuke the whole area - incinerate hazardous material. But that would introduce radiation. Pesky radiation.


people arent going to be able to afford to live there with the rise in every single insurance rate ect

Not to sound harsh, but it's interesting how things work themselves out. You literally pay the consequences.[/b]

Its true and i wouldnt be surprised if some wouldnt be able to get insurance for building in such a place
 
Nobody immune

The Mississippi watershed flooded in 1993, the Red River that runs into Winnipeg flooded some years later, tornadoes rake the center of the country, earthquakes hit the west coast and hurricanes lash the south and east. An 8.0 from the New Madrid fault can cripple the center of the country.

This said, I suspect the New Orleans of 2011 will be a lot smaller than the New Orleans of 2004. Life in many American cities is more agreeable than life in metro New Orleans; many refugees may decide to settle with their extended families and leave New Orleans for good. This means that development can be more easily restricted to areas that have only seen moderate flooding.
 
Re: Nobody immune

New Orleans is our Chernobyl. And consequently, it is not at all unreasonable to seriously consider the very same disposition for it.
 
...

Depends on the demand for labor.

That port of New Orleans is not going to close, not at this time, and as such . There is going to be a tremendous push for labor to work it, according to news accounts I've read. If we close that port and its ancillary facilities, we close one of three modes of inland America's transportation.

Also, here in Bentonville, AR every other person I know works for the HQ of you-know-who. (And I think Wal-Mart, donating $15 million, is trying to help in any way possible.) I spoke with a lady yesterday whose husband is in the know on these things...he said there's going to be a tremendous call for labor to work ANY job at the W-Ms in the area, which they seem to want to reopen.

It will be interesting to see how the marketplace accepts this and deals with it.

BTW, I saw a fascinating news story on Plaquemines parish last night. The roads are already cleared between Belle Chasse and Jesuit Bend, and they're going to work on getting the south part of that parish as water free as they can. The residents there haven't had life that easy, but they look used to it...they may evacuate in the next hurricane, but it doesn't look like many of them are planning to move ANYWHERE from where they're at.

Why in the heck don't we move San Francisco, BTW?
 
Re: ...

Depends on the demand for labor.

That port of New Orleans is not going to close, not at this time, and as such . There is going to be a tremendous push for labor to work it, according to news accounts I've read. If we close that port and its ancillary facilities, we close one of three modes of inland America's transportation.

Also, here in Bentonville, AR every other person I know works for the HQ of you-know-who. (And I think Wal-Mart, donating $15 million, is trying to help in any way possible.) I spoke with a lady yesterday whose husband is in the know on these things...he said there's going to be a tremendous call for labor to work ANY job at the W-Ms in the area, which they seem to want to reopen.

It will be interesting to see how the marketplace accepts this and deals with it.

BTW, I saw a fascinating news story on Plaquemines parish last night. The roads are already cleared between Belle Chasse and Jesuit Bend, and they're going to work on getting the south part of that parish as water free as they can. The residents there haven't had life that easy, but they look used to it...they may evacuate in the next hurricane, but it doesn't look like many of them are planning to move ANYWHERE from where they're at.

Why in the heck don't we move San Francisco, BTW?

This is what I consider to be the root problem. Businesses wanting profits over public safety. People will go where the jobs are. If W-M starts rebuilding their stores down there it will attract people, whether it's safe or not. That will snowball with other businesses, followed by more people, and so on, and so on.

I fear that we're going to see pride, arrogance, and profits drive the complete rebuilding of the city - at any and all costs. But will the ecological problems be properly addressed?
 
I was just thinking that the region around New Orleans is not that much unlike parts of Holland; determination and good engineering over there has proven that a lot of these issues can be overcome.

If one was building a new City, a different location might be chosen... however that's not exactly an option here. Does anybody really beleive that an entire city should be abandoned? That's simply not going to happen here.
 
I was just thinking that the region around New Orleans is not that much unlike parts of Holland; determination and good engineering over there has proven that a lot of these issues can be overcome.

If one was building a new City, a different location might be chosen... however that's not exactly an option here. Does anybody really beleive that an entire city should be abandoned? That's simply not going to happen here.

There is talk of bringing in large amounts of dirt to fill in some areas of the city to make it less vulnerable because some areas will be completely bulldozed. They will definately make a 21st century levee system now...although it's a little late...
 
...

Brian,

Are oceangoing ships able to go as far as Baton Rouge? If not, New Orleans is still going to be the most important port town on the most important river system in the most prosperous (though one might not know it looking at news footage from the crescent city) nation in the world.

There are alternative ports, but they're not on a river which links them to Minneapolis/St. Paul, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Wichita, etc.

BTW, here's the view from the president and founder of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Slidell native from across the lake.
 
Back on ST forums after finally finding my password again! :)

For a national politician, much less someone of Speaker Hastert's prominence, to stick his neck out and say something *that* controversial, yet rooted in amazingly pragmatic thought, is an exceptional display of political courage -- at least until the pressure from emotional "we must rebuild" reactionaries in both parties forces him to retract.

Clearly he knew such sentiments would not be popular in many (most?) quarters. But rational, thinking people need to seriously consider this possibility. I don't believe most folks have considered the absolutely staggering cumulative costs here, in time and money, for cleanup, environmental remediation, salvage, demolition and reconstruction.

I won't use up more bandwidth on it here, but folks are welcome to visit my BLOG essay about this topic (written before Hastert's statements) and make intelligent comments either way.

http://www.stormeyes.org/tornado/blog/arch...new_orleans.php[/url]
 
Kurt,

I'm not talking about necessary industrial facilities. I'm talking about commercial developments that attract residential areas - or vice-versa.

No doubt the ports are vital and need to remain, but the it seems futile to attempt to rebuild the city proper at it's current location.

I'm sure the same genious engineers who think they can protect a city from a cat-5 'cane can certainly engineer a transportation system (highway and rail) that will easily allow access to and from remote ports and an inland metro area.
 
...

Brian, good point.

Remember, those same engineers said they were only authorized to construct a floodwall to withstand a fast-moving Category 3 hurricane, nothing more.

There's going to have to be some reengineered thinking and culture for New Orleans to rebuild, and it will be interesting to see what happens.
 
Re: ...

Brian, good point.

Remember, those same engineers said they were only authorized to construct a floodwall to withstand a fast-moving Category 3 hurricane, nothing more.

There's going to have to be some reengineered thinking and culture for New Orleans to rebuild, and it will be interesting to see what happens.

It is true they only built to withstand a cat-3. I heard an interview with an Army Corps engineer earlier this week who said that they can absolutely design and build levies to withstand a cat-5. The issue is going to be the astronomical cost.

Will those in charge igonre the ecological problem (starving the area of river silt) and instead compound it by trying to hold back even more water?

I just have this feeling that we're going to see sensibility tossed aside in favor of pride and profit.
 
Back
Top