Priceless answers

Published 9:27 am Friday, October 9, 2009

This month the U.S. House of Representatives agreed to appropriate $130,000 toward a reconnaissance study of the Chowan River Basin to try to determine why it has had six floods of record during the last decade.

Although the $130,000 is a lot less than the $215,000 that the Senate was willing to spend on the project back in July, it is still a substantial amount and more than the $100,000 that the House was originally planning to allocate.

Also consider that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officially isn’t permitted to start any new projects at this time. But the comparatively small scale and low price tag, coupled with the efforts of U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), helped get the funding approved.

Hopefully the Senate will pass this legislation — the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2010 — and President Obama will sign it shortly thereafter. The Corps can then come here to begin studying the basin and eventually answer the questions that have collectively been on the public’s mind for a decade: Why did the floods happen? Could they happen again? And the big one: What can be done to either prevent more floods or reduce the damage they cause?

The answers are worth much more than $130,000. They are priceless.