Thursday, July 13, 2006


Is the ACoE now emphasizing coastal wetlands restoration:
In a cover letter to Vice President Dick Cheney, who serves as president of the Senate, John Woodley Jr., the assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, warned that making the decision to proceed with greater hurricane protection could be daunting.

"Ultimately, decision makers will have to use their best judgments to make trade-offs as to which, if any, measures they deem practical," Woodley said. "There is no such thing as unlimited resources, and we must also not be indifferent to the consequences of proposals for levees and other storm-damage-reduction structures on the wetlands ecosystem."

That one paragraph alone brings up a few questions: Is it common for assistant secretary's of the army to tell vice-presidents about the non-existence of the tooth fairy? Has the Corps always been this concerned about coastal wetlands restoration? Environmental groups have expressed concerns that massive levee building projects were incompatible with coastal restoration, but I wasn't aware that this was a major concern of the Corps*. At any rate don't those concerns only apply to levee building along the entire Louisiana coast? Does building category five levees in the GNO area make caostal restoration more difficult in any way (other than finding funding for both)? If not, why should levee improvements in New Orleans wait for a study of the effects of coastal levees?

Finally, the qestion I just have to ask: will the revenue sharing bills somehow cause a shift in emphasis (in the Corps' hurricane protection philosophy) away from a primary emphasis on levees, toward a greater reliance on coastal wetlands restoration? Like I said, I just had to ask.

*It may have been, I wanted to spend a lot more time on this before posting, but I have no idea how my weekend's shaping up.

It took months for the ACoE to make conclusions like: there are no unlimited resources, and there might be environmental trade-offs.

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