Jan. 13, 2008 09:01
Friday, November 30, 2007

NY Times rips presidential debate committee for New Orleans snub
Recently, the commission on presidential debates announced that, despite widespread support for the city's bid, New Orleans would not be one of the cities chosen for one of three general election debates to be held next fall. "New Orleans did not measure up," said Paul Kirk, co-chairman of the debate site committee.


Following up on a slew of editorials from the New Orleans Times Picayune, questioning the logic behind the decision, the New York Times weighed in last week with its own scathing commentary:


It was as if some tour-book-quality recovery from the debacle of Hurricane Katrina was the committee's principal yardstick. What the committee should have realized is that New Orleans, with all its scars, offers an unrivaled and inspiring setting for a badly needed discussion of government's responsibility to address the nation's domestic ills...

Committee members insist there was not intent to spare the Republican candidate from having to orate at such and infamous scene of President Bush's domestic bungling and neglect. The denial sounds believable; the rejection of New Orleans strikes us as fare more plainly stupid than political.



Coastal restoration plan garners $225 million
Ffederal approval of a plan for coastal projects is releasing $255 million to Louisiana during 2007-2008 for coastal restoration. Nineteen parishes will share in the revenue based on offshore oil and gas royalties. In southwestern Louisiana, Iberia, St. Martin, St. Mary, Vermilion, Cameron and Calcasieu Parishes are slated to receive a percentage of the funding; Cameron is the biggest winner with nearly $3,000,000 heading its way.

More funding will follow in 2009-2010 to finance a total of 168 projects the state submitted as a plan to the Department of the Interior, Minerals Management Service. As a member of the Senate Energy Committee, Sen. Mary Landrieu secured the funding in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 by creating the Coastal Impact Assistance Program, administered by the MMS, which disperses offshore royalties to six eligible Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas producing states – Louisiana, Alabama, Alaska, California, Mississippi and Texas. Yesterday, Landrieu announced that Louisiana is the first state to receive funding approval:

There is no better hurricane protection system than a healthy and vibrant coastline. This approval is a key step in the process to restore Louisiana's wetlands, and I look forward to disbursement of the funds in the next few weeks. It has taken many years for our state to begin receiving its fair share, but we are ready to start putting this funding to good work.

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