[StBernard] Senate Passes Homeland Security Spending Bill With Landrieu Language to Protect Louisiana Crawfish Industry

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Mon Jul 30 23:01:15 EDT 2007

Senate Passes Homeland Security Spending Bill With Landrieu Language to
Protect Louisiana Crawfish Industry Also includes Landrieu provisions to
test FEMA trailers for formaldehyde, fast-track school recovery funding and
fund emergency preparedness programs.

WASHINGTON - The United States Senate last night passed the fiscal 2008
Homeland Security Appropriations bill, which includes language authored by
Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., to enforce tariffs on Chinese crawfish
imports. In 2006, Chinese crawfish dumping made up the majority of
uncollected dumping duties, comprising $91.8 million of $146.4 million total

"I cannot begin to tell you how outraged I am about the fact that our
government is unable to collect duties that, by law and pursuant to
international agreement, must be paid to the United States," Sen. Landrieu
said on the Senate floor yesterday. "The problem of non-collection feels
like a dagger pointed straight at the heart of Louisiana. Our crawfish
producers have lost more money from the failure of U.S. importers to pay the
duties owed by China than any other industry in the nation."

In Louisiana, 3,300 crawfish producers and 40 processors rely on the
crawfish industry for their livelihood, and Customs and Border Patrol has
thus far failed to collect nearly $70 million in antidumping duties on
crawfish tail meat from China owed to Louisiana crawfish processors and

In the bill, Sen. Landrieu also secured a key amendment that requires
Federal Emergency Management Agency Director R. David Paulison to conduct a
study of the amount and risk of formaldehyde in FEMA trailers used for
temporary housing after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the flooding that
followed. In May, Sen. Landrieu sent a letter to Paulison seeking an
explanation for the high levels of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen,
discovered in FEMA trailers.

"We must make sure that disaster victims are safe from deadly carcinogens
when they rely on the federal government for temporary housing," Sen.
Landrieu said. "It is gravely troubling that FEMA would distribute trailers
that they knew to have unacceptable levels of formaldehyde. This amendment
will require a necessary report to determine the health risks in FEMA
trailers so that victims - some of whom have lost their homes and all of
their possessions - are not housed in a trailer that is dangerous to their

The amendment jump-starts FEMA's testing process by requiring the FEMA
Administrator to design a test for an appropriate number of FEMA trailers
and mobile homes to determine formaldehyde levels and report on the design
to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC)
and the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee. It requires
that the tests be completed within 45 days of the bill's enactment, and the
Administrator must report the results to Congress 30 days later.

Sen. Landrieu also secured language that allows school districts impacted by
hurricanes Katrina and Rita to receive a single FEMA payment to rebuild
schools. School districts have had to go through FEMA's complicated Public
Assistance process on a building-by-building basis.

"Requiring schools to get FEMA approval for every building drowns them in
red tape," Sen. Landrieu said. "This provision will expedite school
rebuilding and give our students a complete and stable learning

Sen. Landrieu also ensured that the legislation requires FEMA to complete
flood maps for Katrina and Rita affected communities by October 31. FEMA has
twice pushed back the date for completing the maps.

"These flood maps are vital to help hurricane victims rebuild smarter," Sen.
Landrieu said. "The recovery effort is being held up because our communities
lack accurate information."

The Senate also passed an amendment co-sponsored by Sen. Landrieu that would
fortify the U.S. border against the entry of illegal immigrants.

"Securing our borders from illegal aliens is of paramount importance to
protecting our homeland," Sen. Landrieu said yesterday. "We face many
threats from abroad, and, for the safety of the American people, we must
take the necessary steps to ensure our southern border is impermeable."

Other Landrieu provisions in the bill include:

* $700 million for firefighter grants, which was an increase of $400
million beyond the president's request.

* $375 million for the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program.
The president's budget request zeroed out the program.

* $300 million for Emergency Management Performance Grants, the
nation's planning program for all types of hazards. This is an increase of
$100 million beyond the President Bush's budget request.

* $145 million for the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium.

"We must invest in the programs that will protect us from disasters, be they
natural or manmade," Sen. Landrieu said. "I will continue to work with my
colleagues on the Appropriations and Homeland Security committees to fund,
reform and reinforce programs that keep us safe."

- 30 -

More information about the StBernard mailing list