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Context of '(8:00 pm) August 29, 2005: Louisiana Governor Asks President for ‘Everything You’ve Got’ '

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During President Bush’s visit to Louisiana, Governor Kathleen Blanco asks the president in a private conversation to include $50 million in his budget to begin construction work on the Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA) wetlands restoration project. She follows up with a formal letter outlining her request. [Associated Press, 2/3/2004]

Entity Tags: George W. Bush, Louisiana Coastal Area (LCA) Ecosystem Restoration Study, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco

Timeline Tags: Hurricane Katrina

Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D-LA) is sworn into office as Louisiana’s first woman governor, replacing Governor Mike Foster (R-LA). [Louisiana, 9/28/2005]

Entity Tags: Mike Foster, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco

Timeline Tags: Hurricane Katrina

Governor Kathleen Blanco says in response to the release of President Bush’s 2005 budget (see February 2, 2004): “While I am pleased to see that President Bush included some money in his executive budget to address coastal restoration in Louisiana, I must say I am disappointed that the $8 million he proposed is less than one-sixth of what I had requested. We need immediate help… to protect our state and our nation from the continued degradation of the area we call America’s Wetland.” [Associated Press, 2/3/2004]

Entity Tags: Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, George W. Bush

Timeline Tags: Hurricane Katrina

In a letter to President Bush, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco urges the president and his energy secretary, Samuel W. Bodman, to visit the Louisiana coast and see first-hand the deteriorating condition of the state’s coastal wetlands. She wants the administration to reconsider its objection (see July 15, 2004) to a provision in the House (see April 21, 2005) and Senate (see June 28, 2005) versions of the 2005 Energy Policy Act (HR 6) that would channel oil and gas royalties from offshore operations to coastal states for coastal wetland restoration. In her letter, she emphasizes how Louisiana’s disappearing wetlands is making the oil and gas industry’s vast network of pipelines increasingly vulnerable to damage. She also stresses that coastal wetlands have historically protected the coast from the full fury of hurricanes and, without this barrier, a major hurricane could devastate low-elevation coastal communities like New Orleans. “Let me show you the fragile wetlands that are the only protection for the thousands of miles of pipelines that connect this nation to 80 percent of its offshore energy supply and to a full third of all its oil and gas, both foreign and domestic. The vulnerability of those protective wetlands is all the more apparent to our two million coastal zone residents during this active hurricane season.” [Louisiana, 7/20/2005; Houma Today, 7/21/2005]

Entity Tags: Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, George W. Bush, Samuel W. Bodman

Timeline Tags: Hurricane Katrina

Louisiana Governor Blanco calls President Bush this evening. Reportedly, she tells him, “Mr. President, we need your help. We need everything you’ve got.” Blanco later recalls that Bush was reassuring. However, the conversation is rather vague, according to later reports. Blanco does not specifically ask for a massive intervention by the active-duty military. “She wouldn’t know the 82nd Airborne from the Harlem Boys’ Choir,” says an official in Governor Blanco’s office (who wishes to remain anonymous). [Newsweek, 9/19/2005] Blanco will later acknowledge that she does not “give him a checklist or anything.” [Time, 9/11/2005] “Do we stop and think about it?” she will ask. “We just stop and think about help.” [New York Times, 9/11/2005] Blanco’s aides will contend that she should not have to provide a detailed list under the circumstances: “That’s like telling a drowning man that you are not going to help him until he asks for a life preserver.” [Time, 9/11/2005]

Entity Tags: Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, George W. Bush

Timeline Tags: Hurricane Katrina

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