Not only is Rick Jervis hoping that the readers will swallow his own seed of the Corps Costs Estimates of 100’s of Billions for their side of the work, he is offering the erroneous proposition that the Corps is the Lead in the solution to the Wetlands Restoration activity –this prophylactic misnomer stretches so very far from the Truth as to resemble a condom over the head of an oil derrick.
The ruling could lead to billions of dollars in other legal action from storm victims, but it also leaves regional leaders with a dilemma: Should they ride the lawsuit’s momentum and try to extract potentially billions of dollars from the federal government to compensate Katrina victims? Or should they keep the focus on getting federal help for Louisiana‘s multibillion-dollar coastal restoration efforts?
Speaking of Richards, there appears to be another one on the faculty at Tulane Law:
Asking the federal government to pay what could amount to billions of dollars in payback for Katrina victims could derail the state’s effort to fund coastal restoration that could prevent future storms from causing similar devastation, said Oliver Houck, a Tulane University law professor.
“If there’s anything this administration doesn’t need right now is another $100 billion tab,” Houck said. “The money that would go to coastal restoration will now go to these plaintiffs.”
Actually, if there’s anything this administration doesn’t need right now it’s these two Richard-heads and their divisive suggestions when there are others offering well-reasoned thoughts:
Joseph Bruno, a New Orleans attorney who represents the plaintiffs in the case, said he will travel to Washington after Thanksgiving to meet with lawmakers and propose compensation for the more than 400,000 individuals in the greater New Orleans area affected by the floods. “You can’t just pay one section of town,” he said. “You have to pay it all.”
Louisiana’s coastal marshes act as natural buffers against storms and are vital to preventing future disasters, said Garret Graves, head of Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal‘s office of coastal activities. Since 1930, the area has lost about 2,100 square miles of coastal marshes — an area larger than the size of Delaware. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita mauled an additional 217 square miles of coast in 2005.
Rebuilding the marshes, along with armoring New Orleans’ levee systems, will cost about $100 billion, Graves said. Since Katrina, the federal government has spent about $15 billion on the levee system, he said.
Leaders have lobbied Washington for years to invest more in revitalizing the coast. The Obama administration has been proactive, including forming a Gulf Coast interagency working group to come up with solutions, Graves said. Last week’s ruling could steer attention away from that effort, he said.
“There’s a relation between extraordinary land loss in Louisiana and the exacerbated impact of hurricanes,” Graves said. “That’s what we’re remaining focused on.”
Those living in the affected area are similarly divided. Residents of St. Bernard Parish, which lost virtually all of its 26,000 homes in the floods, would like to be compensated for their damaged homes but realize rebuilding wetlands will protect them from future storms, said Craig Taffaro Jr., parish president.
“There needs to be a balance between individual compensation and a global solution,” he said.
There certainly is no need for more unbalanced views from USA Today or Tulane Law.