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article imageOp-Ed: Jindal blasts Obama's stimulus bill for 'volcano monitoring'

By Chris V. Thangham     Feb 26, 2009 in Politics
The Governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, has weighed in on Obama’s speech to Congress. Jindal criticized the stimulus bill for wasting millions on “volcano monitoring.”
Bobby Jindal is widely considered to be a front-runner in the future of Republican Party, and he may even run for Presidency along with Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska in the next U.S. election.
Earlier this week, Jindal gave the GOP’s response to Obama's stimulus bill, saying there should be less government involvement and less wasteful spending.
He cited the stimulus bill, saying it has plenty of wasteful spending in it including money spent on “volcano monitoring,” which he said is not necessary. He said:
While some of the projects in the [stimulus] bill make sense, their legislation is larded with wasteful spending. It includes ... $140 million for something called 'volcano monitoring.' Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, DC.
Throughout history, monitoring volcanoes has saved thousands of lives. The U.S. government currently has volcano-monitoring equipment at two military bases in the Philippines, Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Station. They are located around a volcano called Mount Pinatubo. More than one million people live in that region including 30,000 American military personnel.
In 1991, that monitoring equipment saved many precious lives. In April of that year, scientists from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) and US Geological Survey (USGS) heard a series of explosions. They set up on-site monitoring and declared a six-mile-radius danger zone around the volcano and helped evacuate all the people living in that area. According to an estimate, this monitoring program helped save at least 5,000 lives including military soldiers.
The monitoring program also saved precious equipment worth hundreds of million of dollars, including fighter planes and other aircraft, which were moved to a safe area.
Yes, Governor Jindal, sometimes the so-called “wasteful spending” works. “Volcano monitoring” is not a sound bite, either -- it's an effective tool and it works. Just look at the Philippines where it saved thousands of lives.
The spending on “levees” is essential for New Orleans residents because it stops flooding; the spending of “Earthquake monitoring” is essential for Los Angeles residents to predict the next earthquake and move them to a safe area; the spending on “volcano monitoring” is needed for Yellowstone and Hawaii residents; and there are many more examples of where the government must step in to provide a service the private industry doesn't.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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