Secretary Napolitano Announces FEMA Funding for Canal Cleanup
As part of a series of announcements following her recent listening tour to New Orleans, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano announced today that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will provide $130,000 for St. Bernard Parish to remove silt and debris from a 1,500-foot linear section of Blomquist Canal.
“We are going to help St. Bernard Parish finish their canal cleanup work. Parish President Taffaro identified canal debris removal as one of the parish’s recovery priorities, and we’re committed to working with the parish and state to see this through,” said Secretary Napolitano.
Hurricane Katrina clogged canals across Louisiana with debris and sediment, and some, including Blomquist Canal, remain obstructed with a variety of household, yard and automotive items, and in some cases live, growing trees. In search of funding, St. Bernard Parish approached FEMA with documents detailing the canal’s need for cleanup. FEMA will provide the money for the parish, which will in turn hire contractors to complete the work.
Although a relatively small amount, this funding again represents Secretary Napolitano’s emphasis on working with state and local governments along the Gulf Coast to complete critical recovery projects both large and small in order to renew residents, and the neighborhoods they live in, at a hastened pace. On March 5, Secretary Napolitano, along with U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, announced hundreds of millions of assistance dollars for short- and long-term disaster recovery during their trip to the Gulf Coast. And yesterday, Secretary Napolitano took a big step toward better coordination between DHS and the State of Louisiana with the creation of the Unified Public Assistance Project Decision Team, designed to expedite decision-making for disputed projects between FEMA and the state.
DHS is also currently working with state and local governments on other debris cleanup efforts across Louisiana. The U.S. Coast Guard continues its marine debris removal efforts in Louisiana waterways through an Interagency Agreement with FEMA. The first three stages of debris removal were completed in July 2007 with the removal of more than 1,000 derelict vessels and 175,000 cubic yards of storm-related debris. The Coast Guard is currently working on an additional $20 million FEMA-funded marine debris removal project. Having completed all surveys, the Coast Guard is now in the process of hiring contractors for the additional marine debris removal work.
Additionally, the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) is currently in the process of removing the remaining debris in the Lake Borgne Basin levee District Canal System.
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