Monday, September 26, 2005

Lawsuit That Sank New Orleans

See the The Lawsuit That Sank New Orleans by David Schoenbrod in the
Wall Street Journal September 26, 2005 (subscription required)

“After Hurricane Betsy swamped New Orleans in 1965, …the Army Corps of Engineers designed a Lake Pontchartrain Hurricane Barrier to shield the city with flood gates like those that protect the Netherlands from the North Sea. Congress provided funding and construction began. But work stopped in 1977 when a federal judge ruled, in a suit brought by Save Our Wetlands, that the Corps' environmental impact statement was deficient. Joannes Westerink, a professor of civil engineering at Notre Dame, believes the barrier would have been an effective barrier’ against Katrina's fury.”

“But for the lawsuit, New Orleans would have had the hurricane barrier.”

“Louisiana State University's Hurricane Center found that [Katrina] ‘flooding of most of New Orleans’ came from breaches of floodwalls on canals adjoining Lake Pontchartrain; Katrina's surges did not pour over the levees but breached them because the Corps' floodwalls were shoddy. The barrier stopped by the lawsuit was designed to keep storm surges out of the lake, so it would have reduced the pressure on these floodwalls.”

See Prior Posts:
New Orleans Levees Failed Not Built to Specification
Environmentalist Lawsuit Blocked Storm Gates to Protect New Orleans
U.S. Hurricane Strikes by Decade


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September 26, 2005  

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