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Restore the Wetlands. Reinforce the Levees.

Disaster Planning Behind Closed Doors


The Washington Post reports that state and local officials are irked-and worried about future chaos and blame games-because the White House and DHS are ignoring their input in shaping the National Response Plan, a document intended to guide federal, state, and local emergency response. The plan was supposed to be ready by June 1, the official start of the hurricane season, but it is still being revised-behind closed doors.

Federal officials apparently are trying to create not a plan but a “legalistic document” that will put the burden on state and local officials and shield the federal government from responsibility, according to Albert Ashwood, Oklahoma’s emergency management chief and president of the National Emergency Management Association, a league of state emergency managers.

“In my nineteen years in emergency management,” Ashwood says, “I have never experienced a more polarized environment between state and federal government.”

John Harrald, a professor at George Washington University’s Institute for Crisis, Disaster and Risk Management, says the Bush administration appears “to be guided by a desire to ensure centralized control of what is an inherently decentralized process.”

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