The Sept. 27 editorial "Louisiana's Looters" said what I have been thinking: Although we need to support the people in Louisiana, we need to do so with planning and accountability.
Louisiana needs to show taxpayers that their dollars won't be spent on rebuilding cities located on fragile and vulnerable wetlands. Also, we have to consider the fact that a substantial number of people who have relocated from the storm areas will never return. States that have welcomed evacuees and/or suffered the effects of hurricanes, such as Alabama, Mississippi and Texas, need to be considered in any spending proposal.
Further, it is irresponsible to make a $250 billion spending request in such a short time. Planning should be incremental because it will take years to rebuild the region.
The Louisiana congressional delegation, Democrats and Republicans alike, should be ashamed of the request for $40 billion worth of Army Corps of Engineer projects that it hid behind the curtain of the Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief and Economic Recovery Act ["Louisiana Goes After Federal Billions," front page, Sept. 26].
If enacted, Louisiana's new "Pelican Commission" would be an apt symbol of this boondoggle -- a giant maw into which lobbyists from Patton Boggs, Adams & Reese, Dutko Worldwide, Engulf & Devour, etc. -- would stuff every pet project, uneconomical port expansion grant, and ecologically unsustainable dam and levee contract imaginable.
To top it off, the captains of industry and the Corps of Engineers, not satisfied with enough pork to keep every Chinese restaurant from here to Shanghai supplied for years, want half of all offshore oil proceeds set aside for Louisiana.
Two priorities should rule the rebuilding in Louisiana: whether a project is environmentally sustainable, given the likelihood of more devastating hurricanes amid the needless erosion of coastal wetlands, and whether the proposed construction also addresses the fundamental issues of poverty and injustice that have accompanied environmental degradation and misuse of resources.
No taxpayer should be asked to touch this fat pig, even with a 10-foot oar salvaged from a Hurricane Katrina rescue boat.
CORBIN B. LYDAY
While flooded residents of Gulf Coast states begin to reclaim their homes and communities, it looks like the inundation of federal money is going well for President Bush's supporters and handlers. Look who's receiving million-dollar contracts: the Shaw Group (more than one); KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton; Fluor Corp.; and Bechtel. These corporations are clients of lobbyist Joe M. Allbaugh, who was Mr. Bush's campaign manager in 2000 and then Mr. Bush's appointee to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Something stinks, and it isn't just the fetid floodwater in New Orleans.