Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Huffpo on MRGO

Here is a link to  a huffington post by Greg Palast where he gets it right about the MRGO:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/greg-palast/bushd-again-new-orleans-m_b_697515.html

 

And here is an excerpt:

 

Until the Army Corps made this crazy gash in the Mississippi Delta fifty years ago, Mother Nature protected the Crescent City with a green wreath of cypress and mangrove. The environmental slash-job caused the government's own hydrologist to raise alarms from Day One of construction.

Unless MR-GO was fixed or plugged, the Corps was inviting, "the possibility of catastrophic damage to urban areas by a hurricane surge coming up this waterway." (I'm quoting from a report issued 17 years before The Flood.)

A forensic analysis by Dr. John W. Day calculated that if the Corps had left just 6 miles of wetlands in place of the open canal, the surge caused by Katrina's wind would have been reduced by 4.5 feet and a lot of New Orleaneans would be alive today.

The Corps plugging its ears to the warnings was nothing less than "negligence, insouciance, myopia and shortsightedness."

That list of fancy epithets poured from the angry pen of Federal Judge Stanwood Duval who heard the evidence in a suit filed by the surviving residents of the Ninth Ward and St. Bernard's Parish. His Honor ruled that the drowning of the Ninth Ward and St. Bernard Parish was a man-made disaster.

Still, the Administration drags its feet on payment under the legal theory of "Discretionary Function." In lay terms, that means, "Nyah, nyah, nyah! You can't hold the Army Corps responsible for gross negligence." The Justice Department also argued that the court should not consider the number of people drowned. Ugh.

Judge Duval slapped away the government's cockamamie defense.

So then, why oh why oh why would Obama, after his grandstanding about BP's responsibility to the people of the Gulf Coast, refuse to compensate some of the same people for the far greater damage caused by the Corps?

Let me tell you: it goes beyond the money. To "make things right" means Obama would have to face down powers fiercer than any Taliban: Big Oil.

The widening of MR-GO drowned New Orleans; it was not an Act of God. It was an Act of Chevron. An Act of Shell Oil. And, yes, an Act of BP.

Thanks, Greg.

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