The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers says it needs four more years to redesign the Morganza to the Gulf levee, which is supposed to protect areas of Coastal Louisiana from storm surges. Plus, the 100-year hurricane structure, projected to be 28-feet high when completed, would take 30 years to build.
The levee was originally proposed in 1992 and approved by Congress in 2000. Big problem, the Corps says, is that the expected cost has skyrocketed from $882 million to $8.5 billion.
Why not put that money into rebuilding the barrier islands and wetlands and let the coast take more care of itself in withstanding storm surges? A healthy coast wouldn’t need so many and so high levees to keep the people dry.
Diversion of river water and sediment could do what the river did naturally years ago to build up the Louisiana coast. Storm surges then were not a big problem. We didn’t have so many salt-water holes in the wetlands that caused soil-holding plantlife to die and erosion to set in. Such surges dissipate as they pass over solid land.
Gov. Bobby Jindal says the time for studies and waiting is over. We agree.
Louisiana farmers at fault, too
A reader recently criticized via e-mail a column on the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico that blamed mainly midwestern farmers who allowed their fertilizer to go into the Mississippi River and down into the Gulf which robbed the fish of oxygen. The writer, who said he was from the midwest, did not believe all of the blame should go to midwest farmers since there were farmers in other states, including Louisiana, who have done the same thing.
He is right. There are more farmers in the midwest but the blame should go to all who commit the death blow to our fisheries. We apologize for omitting that fact.