March 13, 2007

Why Does This Not Surprise Me?

Filed under: Katrina,Politics — PolitiCalypso @ 7:12 am

Have they learned nothing from New Orleans?

The Bush administration will allow some development in flood plains without formal environmental reviews.

Predictably (and rightly), the move has enraged environmentalists, who have been advocating for the disappearing wetlands for decades now, mostly in vain. This move allows developers to build on small tracts of land, and it places minimal restrictions on what can be built. Types of buildings to be permitted include residential homes, shopping venues, hospitals, prisons, and schools.

If you were a resident of low-lying Louisiana who had experienced Hurricane Katrina (or evacuated and returned to find your community in ruins), wouldn’t it make you feel nice and cozy to know that your kids’ new school could be built on a filled-in marshland that had flooded before–as long as the school was small and the entire development didn’t take up over half an acre? (In some parts of rural Louisiana, that’s not out of the question.)

(Oh, and is due to be reclaimed by the sea in a few decades because of global warming-induced rising seas, another problem that is not being addressed in the coastal “recovery.”)

And if you were, perhaps, a researcher of endangered species–maybe even the elusive Ivory-billed Woodpecker–wouldn’t you be pleased to know that developers could pull the same sort of stunt that the timber industry did in the 1940s, when it completely stripped clear the last confirmed habitat of Ivorybills?

Oh, sure, the Endangered Species Act would provide protection for areas where the birds are known to roost. But that’s the problem, isn’t it? They are hard to find, and with recent potential sightings in Arkansas and Florida, there’s a possibility that they might be in pockets all over the Gulf states. However, those two sightings are increasingly being called into question since the scientists involved have not produced good video or photography yet. If other potential areas are wiped out before the birds could even be found, it opens the floodgates for the areas in Arkansas and especially Florida to be given similar treatment.

And, from the same article, this is just disgusting:

Another part of the regulations, approved in coordination with other federal agencies and the White House, waives the formal environmental reviews entirely for coal companies when they bury or reroute streams with their mining wastes.

So okay, if your friendly neighborhood coal company decides to dump waste product in a stream, completely cutting off the flow of water with the trash, no one has to run it through any sort of review process.

I’ll make sure to drink bottled water when I am in Louisiana.

This bit of news was certainly a very unwelcome addition to my e-mail inbox this morning.

I have made this blog mostly about Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf Coast, yes, but frankly, I’m tired of having so much material to write about.

2 Comments »

  1. It reminds me of the song they paved over paradise to put up a parking lot.

    We keep getting wider roads that we really don’t need. Yes, there is heavy traffic on them early in the morning and late in the evenings when people are going to and from work, the rest of the time they are practically empty.

    And since Katrina there has been more and more development down here, with little regard to if it is swamp land. Even before Katrina this was happening. Up above our house a developers sold off small lots in what was essentially wetlands. Peoples septic tanks are failing because of this and the same thing happened in an area of Ocean Springs.

    Comment by Alasandra — March 14, 2007 @ 1:32 pm

  2. Two years ago at this exact day and exact minute, Hurricane Katrina made its first Gulf landfall on the Louisiana coast.

    I would like to mark this day by providing a series of links to recent news about the recovery, or what passes for it. First i

    Comment by PolitiCalypso — August 29, 2007 @ 4:14 am

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