Mark Ballard’s news story on the Sept. 6 front page discussing devastation caused by Hurricane Ida to electrical power grids in our great state is another example of agenda journalism disguised as news. It belonged on the opinion page.
In the story, it was reported that "all eight transmission lines failed' stopping the flow of electricity generating plants into New Orleans.” No one disputes the devastation. But Ballard wants the reader to focus on upcoming "help" in the $1.1 trillion infrastructure bill.
And yet, does anyone remember the famous "infrastructure" plan in 2009, only four years after Hurricane Katrina, which was passed shortly after the Obama administration assumed the White House. It was a $787 billion stimulus package, then the largest fiscal stimulus in the U.S. since World War II.
According to the website recovery.gov, $507 billion was in new spending, $282 billion in tax cuts. The same source said only 23% of the package was infrastructure; the rest being health care, education and extended unemployment and "other security programs."
Ballard cites the upcoming $1.1 trillion infrastructure bill. He showcases the liberals’ favorite Louisiana Republican, Sen. Bill Cassidy, as "a key negotiator" on the legislation "that includes funding for hardening the electrical grid." He also ensures that readers are aware that only "one of Louisiana's six House members is unequivocally backing the measure.” Those against are bad Republicans in Ballard’s opinion.
Remember: The $1.1 trillion is for the entire country, all 50 states. Furthermore, some simple research reveals that of the $1.1 trillion, only $65 billion or about 0.06% is actually earmarked for what is called "grid reliability and resiliency.”
As part of the bill's efforts to address climate change, the power grid also has funding to support the development and adaptation to clean energy technology. Again, this money will be spent over 50 states. If south Louisiana gets $250,000 for strengthening our grid after the aforementioned marks we will be fortunate. We all know we will need much, much more.
Hardening the electrical grid: absolutely necessary! Done with the current infrastructure bill in the House as we speak: Not so fast.
JOHN S. WHITE