Permanent pump stations are a vital part of the expensive new flood-control system designed to protect New Orleans from the next Hurricane Katrina, but businesses and residents are engaged in bitter fights to keep the stations out of their neighborhoods. With property values and quality of life at stake near the stations, letters and petitions have flooded the offices of officials who will make the ultimate decisions on placement. Despite the pressures, "Engineering integrity will not be sacrificed for any other factors, as important as they may be," says the deputy director of the Hurricane Protection Office.

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