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The United States Army Corps of Engineers is involved with a wide spectrum of public works projects: environmental protection, water supply, recreation, flood damage and reduction, beach nourishment, homeland security, military construction, and support to other Governmental agencies. Through 19 Flood Control Acts since 1917, Congress has authorized the Corps of Engineers to be involved with flood protection and damage reduction in almost every state of the union.

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  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers civil works controversies
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  • The United States Army Corps of Engineers is involved with a wide spectrum of public works projects: environmental protection, water supply, recreation, flood damage and reduction, beach nourishment, homeland security, military construction, and support to other Governmental agencies. Through 19 Flood Control Acts since 1917, Congress has authorized the Corps of Engineers to be involved with flood protection and damage reduction in almost every state of the union.
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  • The United States Army Corps of Engineers is involved with a wide spectrum of public works projects: environmental protection, water supply, recreation, flood damage and reduction, beach nourishment, homeland security, military construction, and support to other Governmental agencies. Through 19 Flood Control Acts since 1917, Congress has authorized the Corps of Engineers to be involved with flood protection and damage reduction in almost every state of the union. Corps of Engineers' projects are either authorized specifically by Congress or as part of a Congressionally authorized category of projects. Projects are authorized and built in all fifty states, Local citizen, special interest, and political groups can lobby Congress for authorization and appropriations for specific projects in their area. In contrast, locals have also opposed corps projects or parts of projects. Many of the Corps of Engineers' civil works projects have been characterized as being riddled with patronage (see pork barrel) or a waste of money and resources (see boondoggle (project)) such as the New Madrid Floodway Project and the New Orleans flood protection. Projects have allegedly been justified based on flawed or manipulated analyses during the planning phase. Some projects are said to have created profound detrimental environmental effects and/or provided questionable economic benefit such as the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet in southeast Louisiana. Faulty design and substandard construction have been cited in the failure of levees in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Reforming the Corps' way of doing business has been championed by U.S. Senators Russ Feingold and John McCain. Holding the corps accountable has been proposed by the group Levees.org led by Sandy Rosenthal. One of the difficulties of making changes, however, is the political process itself. Depending on the point of view of any debate on these projects, they may or may not be considered sound from an engineering standpoint (see below). Whether or not USACE planners and engineers actually do the best they can with what they are directed to do is part of the controversy.
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