Pump to the River
Jefferson/Orleans

Dear  Friends,

       I’m sorry that I cannot attend the conference call this afternoon, as my prior scheduling commitments do not allow on such short notice. 
 
As you know, both Senator Landrieu and I were able to successfully include an amendment to the FY10 Senate Energy and Water Appropriations bill that would have completed a study of the residual risks associated with the three options, suspended the design and construction of any pumping station unless the activity is consistent with each option described in the Corps report, and conducted a feasibility level of analysis (including a cost estimate) for the project. 
 
Unfortunately, that language has been and will be stripped in the final bill that will go the President. 
 
Below is a summary of what happen and how we were unable to overcome the opposition to our amendment.
 
  • What I was told by Senator Bennett (R-Utah), top Republican and Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, is that Senator Landrieu offered an amendment during House and Senate conference negotiations to keep the original Landrieu-Vitter language that passed the Senate a few months ago in the final bill.  Senator Dorgan (D-North Dakota), top Democrat and Cha irman of the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, complained that discussing the amendment stops work on the bill and that he would oppose her attempt to keep the original Senate language. 
  • Senator Bennett, at my behest, offered a compromised solution that would have keep the study but remove the work stoppage language that Senator Dorgan and Representative Pastor (D-Arizona 4th), Chairman of the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, and Representative Frelinghuysen (R-New Jersey 11th), Ranking Member  of the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, objected to in the original Landrieu-Vitter language.  Sen. Dorgan, Rep. Pastor, and Rep. Frelinghuysen objected to the compromised language as well.   Senator Landrieu fought to keep the original language in the final bill, but when it was apparent that opposition was too great, she pushed for Senator Dorgan to accept the compromise language.  This apparently was too late for Senator Dorgan who wanted to proceed on passing the final bill.   Sen. Dorgan asked if the House Conferee members objected to the compromise language and both Rep. Pastor and Rep. Frelinghuysen did object.  The=2 0final result was there is no language on PTR.
  • I thank Senator Bennett who did everything I asked of him and fought to get our compromise language in the bill,=2 0but there was too much opposition to overcome.  
 
I know Senator Landrieu and I will continue working diligently to get the Corps to suspend their activities and provide for the best hurricane and storm surge possible for the greater New Orleans area.
Sincerely,
United States Senator                      
David Vitter
 
Charles Brittingham, II
Projects Director
U.S. Senator David Vitter
202-224-4623 (office)