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Sunday, September 11, 2005

Did Environmentalists Cause Destruction of New Orleans?

I was looking for info the "post-Betsy" work in New Orleans for strengthening their levee system. For those (like me) who are too young to remember, in 1965 a Cat 2 storm, Betsy, hit New Orleans and broke a few levees.

So, everyone is angry with the folks at the Army Corps of Engineers for not strengthening the levees, and pointing fingers. But here's an article from National Review (an admitted conservative mouthpiece, I'll balance it later). It describes environmental group lawsuits as recently as the late 1990's over Corps projects to build up the levee system in New Orleans.

And one from the LA Times (thought linked through the Chicago Tribune) that describes the 1967 law to do a major rework on the New Orleans system, including floodgates, that was brought to a halt by Save Our Wetlands.

So the big question is, did environmentalists put crawfish and shrimp ahead of human safety? And does the $500 million it would cost to build the 1967 project seem like overspending, now that we've appropriated over $60 billion as a down payment on repairs?

I'm not saying either of these projects would have saved New Orleans, however, watching the news reports, the city seemed to be spared the brunt of the wind damage from the storm, being on the west eyewall will do that. How much of the flooding might have been prevented with floodgates on the canal system, and higher levees on the lakes, projects stopped by environmental groups?


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