Homeland Security Still A Priority

August 3, 2006
Reported by Vince Atkinson

After the terrorist attacks of 9/11 the nation has done a lot to tighten homeland security, but some people feel more still needs to be done. This includes improving security in Southwest Louisiana. Congressman Bobby Jindal, along with members of the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office took a homeland security tour Thursday. The Congressman and the Sheriff were looking for two things, they wanted to find out what is going right and pinpoint any weakness that need to be shored up.

The new x-ray machine at the 14th Judicial Courthouse in Lake Charles is only a very small piece of the puzzle when it comes to homeland security. The machine was purchased with homeland security money. In theory the Bayou State has historically received a lot of homeland security money, but do not let that fool you. Congressman Bobby Jindal said, "We have had almost $289,000,000 come to the state since 2002, about $100,000,000 of that has not been spent."

According to Jindal, it is bureaucratic "red tape" that is stopping the badly needed cash from making it into the right hands. Jindal said, "We are still fighting a terrorist enemy. They are evil, but they are not stupid. If they choose to attack us through our ports they could truly cripple our economy."

The Congressman, along with members of the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office took to area water ways Thursday. They were inspecting so called "buffer zones" around area plants and looking at how the Sheriff's Office conducts patrols. While great strides have been made the past few years beefing up security around area refineries, Jindal feels more federal funding is still needed. Jindal said, "We may not have the population density in Louisiana that you have in New York City or Los Angeles, but we have critical infrastructure."

Approximately 30% of the entire nation's energy comes directly off Louisiana's coast. This makes the Bayou State, and more specifically Southwest Louisiana a potential target for terrorist. The federal government recently approved more spending for homeland security efforts. Now, Jindal says the battle will be getting enough of that money sent to Louisiana.