According to a report in today’s Times-Picayune, the state of Louisiana has pledged half a million dollars to replace trees on a private golf course damaged by Hurricane Katrina last year.

The expenditure was buried in the budget state legislators passed last spring, and is listed as a “forestry program for the planting of trees and other native plants.” This comes after the state spent $13 million to subsidize the construction of the Tournament Players Club in the first place.

“It’s important to show that this course is in first-class condition” when the Zurich Classic professional tournament is played there in April, state Rep. John Alario (D) told the Times-Picayune. State officials are uncertain whether FEMA will reimburse the state for the expenditure.

Though I support trees and their existence in Louisana, one would hope a private golf course would be low on the priorities list. How about funding additional research into the ongoing environmental and health impacts of Katrina? Or investing that money in public works? Or preparing for the next monster storm?

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