Nelson secures $40 million to strengthen dike
June 29, 2006
WASHINGTON, D.C. – New Orleans’ levee proved too weak to withstand Hurricane Katrina’s storm surge, and experts think Lake Okeechobee’s Herbert Hoover Dike may not fair much better in the face of potential hurricanes.
But with the help of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, efforts to repair the dike’s ailing infrastructure received a major boost in Congress this week as a key Senate committee approved almost $40 million to help with current repair projects. The Senate Appropriations Committee included the funds in the energy and water appropriations bill for next year.
The 74-year-old dike is currently exhibiting evidence of erosion and leaks, and an independent review requested by the South Florida Water Management District declared the dike a serious danger. Experts estimate that the homes of up to 60,000 residents would be threatened if the levee breaks.
Nelson is currently drafting legislation that would require the Army Corps of Engineers to take this new study into account as they plan future repair projects. “We must fix this before a hurricane pushes the dike past its breaking point,” Nelson says.
The energy and water appropriations bill now moves to the full Senate for approval.