Sunday, January 20, 2008

Meanwhile, in New Orleans

Natural conditions are not the only cause of New Orleans' risk of flooding. Both industry and suspect engineering have taken their toll:
In Katrina's wake, the Army Corps of Engineers has gotten the brunt of the criticism for the disaster. Besides building suspect levees, the Corps' mission to control waterways with spillways, floodgates and other measures has played havoc with nature by restricting the Mississippi's sediment and fresh upriver water from replenishing the delta's wetlands.

There are other reasons for the disastrous wetlands loss: Human development, cypress logging, ill-advised farming on the coast, hurricanes, slipping-and-sliding geologic faults and even a South American semi-aquatic rodent called nutria imported to Louisiana in the 1930s.

But many scientists say the oil industry's 10,000 miles of canals - enough to stretch nearly halfway around the world - and the drilling they supported played a decisive role. Some scientists say drilling caused half of the land loss, or about 1,000 square miles.
Sounds like the oil industry, which floats on its ocean of annual profits, needs to kick in some funds to help bring New Orleans back.

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