Close readers of the Washington Post had to know that the Post would be counting on reporter Michael Grunwald, who did a major investigative series on the Army Corps of Engineers when the topic was anything but sexy. His front-page take on the Corps in Louisiana should have an effect on the post-Katrina conventional wisdom:
In Katrina’s wake, Louisiana politicians and other critics have complained about paltry funding for the Army Corps in general and Louisiana projects in particular. But over the five years of President Bush’s administration, Louisiana has received far more money for Corps civil works projects than any other state, about $1.9 billion; California was a distant second with less than $1.4 billion, even though its population is more than seven times as large.
Much of that Louisiana money was spent to try to keep low-lying New Orleans dry. But hundreds of millions of dollars have gone to unrelated water projects demanded by the state’s congressional delegation and approved by the Corps, often after economic analyses that turned out to be inaccurate.