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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 12:16 PM
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Kerry To Introduce Dam Legislation
John Kerry to Introduce Legislation to Help Prevent Future Dam Emergencies
Today, Government Red Tape Prevents Army Corps of Engineers From Taking Preventative Measures

Taunton, Mass. - After touring the Whittenton Pond Dam this morning, Senator John Kerry announced in Taunton that he will introduce legislation in Congress to help prevent a similar situation from happening again at one of Massachusetts 3,000 other privately-owned dams. The law currently only allows the Army Corps of Engineers to act in the case of an emergency - but not to prevent an emergency. The legislation, which Kerry will introduce as soon as he returns to Washington today, will give the Army Corps of Engineers the ability to intervene to repair privately-owned dams for the sake of public safety.

Today the Army Corps of Engineers can help in Taunton only because its an emergency - and everyone who has been praying that the dam doesn't break knows just what an emergency this has been, Kerry said. Right now, the law says that the Corps can step in only at the point of no return. The Army Corps of Engineers shouldnt be handcuffed by bureaucratic red tape until its a make-it-or-break-it crisis. Thats crazy. If Hurricane Katrina taught it anything, its that we cant let bureaucracy get in the way of preventing a pending disaster or responding to a looming threat.


The aim of Kerrys bill is to allow the Corps to assist in the kind of effort the Governor is now undertaking to inspect and strengthen dams across the state. Senator Kennedy is co-sponsoring this legislation.

Throughout the crisis, Kerry has been in constant contact with mayors and local elected officials, particularly Taunton Mayor Bob Nunes. Yesterday, Kerry spoke via telephone with the Chief of Engineering and Planning for the Army Corps of Engineers, who offered any assistance it takes to save Taunton.

Kerry strongly supports Governor Romneys appeal to the president for an emergency designation. This will allow FEMA to help pay for repairs to the dams and other critical infrastructure. The Corps can also offer assistance for up to 10 days if the Governor requests it in an emergency situation, such as Taunton. Kerry said today that he would support Governor Romney requesting this assistance for a structural assessment and technical advice if he thinks the Corps could help the current efforts.

Massachusetts has a second chance now to do what's needed to avoid an unimaginable crisis. We have a window of opportunity to save one of our state's most treasured cities. Hurricane Katrina thrust into the spotlight just what can happen if we dont act quickly and if we don't coordinate leadership and resources at all levels of government. Together with Mayor Nunes, with Governor Romney, we are one state, one team determined never to allow those same mistakes to play out here in Massachusetts.

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rox63 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 12:20 PM
Response to Original message
1. The fact that he was in Taunton this morning explains
why Kerry was a bit late getting to the Condi hearing. He's a busy guy. :)
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