Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) says her panel is seeking to develop legislation that may expedite and expand a current survey of U.S. levees to determine which ones should have top priority for repairs. Maj. Gen. Don Riley, Army Corps of Engineers deputy commander, told Boxer’s committee at a July 23 hearing that by the end of 2008 the Corps will have done an inventory of 9,800 miles of the 14,000 miles of federal levees. Boxer said her committee wants “to do a kind of an emergency levee bill to give you a little more juice” for the program. She asked, “Could we speed up that program...if we made it a ‘Manhattan Project?’“

Boxer didn’t outline a timetable for a bill, but there will be no action until September, at the earliest.