In 2001, FEMA warned about the reality of weakness in preparation for hurricane damage, especially in New Orleans, ranking it among the three most likely, most catastrophic disasters facing the United States.
Consecutive years of record cuts to programs promoted by the Bush administration which meant full funding of efforts geared for improving levees, and the operations of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would not occur. The Louisiana probelms were reported.
"Yet after 2003, the flow of federal dollars toward SELA (Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project) dropped to a trickle. The Corps never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security -- coming at the same time as federal tax cuts -- was the reason for the strain. At least nine articles in the Times-Picayune from 2004 and 2005 specifically cite the cost of Iraq as a reason for the lack of hurricane- and flood-control dollars."
Additional cuts threaten Tennessee's Nickajack aging dam and lock systems for managing river traffic in the state, which leads to tens of thousands of new 18-wheeler transports annually.
UPDATE: More and more news sites are reprinting and reminding Americans about the steady dismantling of FEMA by the Bush administration. Not to say Bush's policies led to a Hurricane, but programs meant to handle disaster-response and informed development plans in the Gulf coast were abandoned. Now that this lack of planning is helping create gas shortages, I wonder (paranoid me) if this was incompetence or part of a larger effort to destabilize a secure oil industry.