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Restore the Wetlands. Reinforce the Levees.

Archive for December, 2008

It’s a Whole New Year

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

LNW_CCCwoodcut.miniTo all our readers and their families—and beyond—we send best wishes for a happy, safe, and more prosperous new year. For everyone we wish full (or at least livelihood-sustaining) employment.

2009 will not be easy, we know, but embedded within the new year’s challenges are opportunities for renewal and a whole new sense of national purpose and possibility. Seeds of change. It is a time for hope, optimism, for dreaming big new dreams and for working hard to make them real. With a new (and very different) administration and many new elected officials coming to Washington and to state and local governments across the nation, it’s a time for collaboration and cooperation for the common good.

We’re all in this together. Being in the work of environmental protection, for example, we realize that all nations have a stake in reducing carbon emissions that cause global warming and melting of ice caps. Rising sea levels threaten not only the Gulf Coast of the United States but also Long Island, the Netherlands, Venice, Bangladesh—every bit of land touched by the oceans. We understand that the more energy-efficient vehicles that the public rightly expects from Detroit should be balanced by federal and state investment in clean-energy public transportation (electric buses, streetcars) and light rail to ease traffic congestion and air pollution.

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George W. Bush Takes the Long View

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

“I don’t spend a lot of time really worrying about short-term history. I guess I don’t worry about long-term history, either, since I’m not going to be around to read it [laughs].”

—George W. Bush, “I Did Not Compromise My Principles,”
interview with ABC’s Charles Gibson (12/1/08)

LNW_Bush-Nucular

AlterNet.org

Part of the history that Mr. Bush won’t be reading can be found in a transcript of his speech from Jackson Square on Sept. 15, 2005, two weeks after Hurricane Katrina. Rather, historians can note the great gulf between the promises made in that speech (examples below) and the inaction that followed. More than fifteen visits to New Orleans and vicinity, which the President repeatedly referred to as “that part of the world,” were not accompanied by a concerted federal effort to rebuild the city and region, its schools and hospitals and housing, its infrastructure, or its storm protection systems whose funding had been repeatedly whittled down by Bush administration budgets before the storm.

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Mark Davis: “We don’t really have a coastal restoration program . . .”

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

Courtesy of Dirty Coast

Courtesy of Dirty Coast

Despite decades of warnings and activists’ efforts, the serious work isn’t even close to happening.

Our name is Levees but we dig wetlands too because Louisiana needs a Multiple Lines of Defense Strategy. That’s why we urge everyone to read Mark Davis’s Times-Picayune op-ed, “Rebuilding Coast Requires Hard Choices” (full text below).

Davis, founding director of Tulane’s Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy and former director of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, is responding to some bad news reported by Mark Schleifstein: A federal-state task force has “voted to close the West Bay diversion on the Mississippi River—the most effective existing sediment diversion in fighting coastal erosion—unless an alternative source of money is found to pay for dredging sediment from anchorages [essentially parking spots for boats].”

Mark Davis uses this crazy-but-true development to explain the bigger picture: “Protecting a handful of anchorages cannot be more important than restoring our coast, and by extension protecting the social, economic and ecological life of the region. . . . We don’t really have a coastal restoration program, and we won’t have one as long as the only projects we can do are the ones that don’t actually affect anyone or bump into any previously authorized projects.” Everyone knows that coastal restoration is a matter of life and death for Louisiana, and our state’s territorial integrity cannot keep being made to take second place behind oyster leasing conflicts and oil and gas projects and private development projects.

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