August 29, 2010

SO W DIDN'T CAUSE IT?:

Katrina - a man-made disaster: A new movie reveals how the flooding could have been prevented (Errol Louis, August 29th 2010, NY Daily News)

Shearer filmed a slew of engineering experts discussing how faulty plans and designs by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - and the Corps decision to ignore one warning after another - left the city vulnerable and exposed to catastrophe.

The central problem was the creation of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, a man-made ship channel that was virtually obsolete from the day it opened in 1968. Built at the urging of private industry, the MRGO funneled a wave of water with hurricane force into the center of New Orleans, where it blasted through levees and caused the drowning of the city.

That isn't just academic speculation. As I reported last fall, Federal Judge Stanwood Duval issued a devastating ruling in connection with a lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers.

"The Corps not only knew, but admitted by 1988, that the MRGO threatened human life, and yet it did not act in time to prevent the catastrophic disaster that ensued with the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina," reads part of the opinion.

In one of the most riveting parts of Shearer's film, Duval reads his own words from the decision.

"The Corps' lassitude and failure to fulfill its duties resulted in a catastrophic loss of human life and property in unprecedented proportions," Duval says. "The Corps' negligence resulted in the wasting of millions of dollars in flood protection measures and billions of dollars in congressional outlays to help this region recover from such a catastrophe."

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 29, 2010 8:22 AM
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