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Bush Administration Raises Costs to Repair New Orleans Levee System


The Bush administration now says it will cost nearly $10 billion to properly rebuild the levee system around the hurricane-ravaged city of New Orleans - an amount three times what the administration has requested.

Donald Powell, the administration official in charge of the U.S. Gulf Coast's recovery efforts, says the extra money is needed because the government has changed its standards to make the levees higher and stronger.

President Bush had asked for more than $3 billion to rebuild the levees that failed when Hurricane Katrina struck last August.

The new estimate has angered Louisiana's elected officials, especially with the approaching hurricane season. Governor Kathleen Blanco expressed outrage at what she called a "monumental miscalculation."

The hurricane season begins June 1.

An organization of U.S. civil engineers - the American Society of Civil Engineers - questioned the reliability of New Orleans's remaining levees in a letter last week to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency responsible for the city's levee system.

Some information for this report was provided by AP .
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