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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 05:06 PM
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LA Environmental Damage "Unprecedented" - Boston Globe
NEW ORLEANS -- The environmental damage from hurricanes Katrina and Rita is unparalleled in its scope and variety, scientists say, with massive oil spills blanketing marshes, sediment smothering vast fishing grounds, and millions of gallons of raw sewage scattered in New Orleans and along the 400-mile Louisiana coast. The catastrophe extends from the heart of the Big Easy, where streets, sidewalks, and floors are coated with a thick mud mixed with human waste, to the fringe of protective marshland, sugarcane fields, and citrus groves along the Gulf Coast that are beginning to die from the sea's salty surge. Thousands of acres seem to have been swallowed forever by the ocean.

''This is an unprecedented event in terms of devastation and scale," said Harry Roberts, director of the Louisiana State University's Coastal Studies Institute. He says it will take time to fully evaluate the storms' impact. ''It's not like a spill on a river or a beach; you have small channels, canals, towns, levees. Everything here is complicated . . . and it's not a simple environment to assess damage in."

The scope of the cleanup ahead is most evident when seen from a plane. In a three-hour flight, a Globe reporter documented scores of examples of environmental damage from New Orleans 60 miles south: A shrimp boat, one of more than 100 observed tossed on roads and earthen levees, leaking a thin rainbow film of oil into the marsh. Two large white oil-storage tanks, one partially crumpled like a soda can, leaning precariously over the Mississippi River with remnants of its black goo smeared on a nearby beach. Boxcars, barges, and car ferries -- their contents oozing -- piled in canals and along the riverbank. Acres of marsh grass, beaten down by 100-mile-per-hour-plus winds and poisoned by salt water, turning brown.

Nature is resilient, and most scientists agree that the Louisiana coast will recover, as it has after past hurricanes. Oil will evaporate, toxic compounds will be diluted, and fish will return. But it could take several years or longer, and by then fishermen, hunters, and farmers could be ruined, as duck hunting falls off because of the loss of wetlands, crawfish farms fail because of saltwater in ponds, and high salinity in the soil turns rice and cane fields barren. Finding new uses for the land could take years. ''It will always come back to some stable system; we'll have shrimp and oysters again . . . but the shock effect of the change and recovery time could be great," said Paul Coreil, vice chancellor for the Louisiana State University Agriculture Center.


What time better than now to gut environmental law, huh? :puke:
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tompayne1 Donating Member (346 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 05:11 PM
Response to Original message
1. Pardon me
How wrong is it to suggest that NO be turned into a superfund site and the city be relocated.
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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. The EPA doesn't do superfund anymore.

There was an actual news article about the EPA saying it was not planning to fund any more super-fund sites. Out of money, you know. Norquist drowned it all in a bathtub.
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pushycat Donating Member (401 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-03-05 03:54 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Exactly. All this talk about rebuilding NOLA into a bright, clean,
gentrified new City - who will come visit or live there who doesn't care if they are poisoned by the air/water/ground ? Can't believe people would actually PLAN to live anywhere in that region for a long time. It will be interesting to see just how much scientific data is suppressed/distorted by our Gov. concerning the health risks to the entire Gulf. nothing here to see, move along and be sure to buy something...
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philb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-03-05 08:24 PM
Response to Original message
4. But Gov't neglect and actions a major factor in the damage-more than H.
FEMA Blocked Evacuation & Relief Efforts - Compilation of Mainstream and Alternative Press reports

Top Hurricane Official says top FEMA Officials were warned of Katrinas potential days before it hit. Its not like this was a surprise. We had in the advisories that the levee could be topped

FEMA cuts local officials phone lines blocking communications /

FEMA Blocks Pre-planned Katrina Aid from Chicago
Homeland Security won't let Red Cross deliver food

FEMA won't accept Amtrak's help in evacuations

FEMA turns away experienced firefighters
FEMA turns back Wal-Mart supply trucks with food and water / /

FEMA prevents Coast Guard from delivering diesel fuel /

FEMA blocks 500-boat citizen flotilla from delivering aid

FEMA fails to utilize Navy ship with 600-bed hospital on board ..

FEMA bars morticians from entering New Orleans

FEMA turns away generators

FEMA: "First Responders Urged Not To Respond"

FEMA blocks volunteer firefighters from helping Katrina victims Sep. 2, 2005

FEMA prevented the airboat pilots from entering New Orleans

FEMA Wants No Photos of Dead From Reuters September 7, 2005
FEMA Blocks Journalists From Photographing Katrina's Victims
Journalist Groups Protest FEMA Ban on Photos of Dead

New Orleans Evacuees prevented from leaving New Orleans. Suburban cops closed off N.O. escape route
FEMA locks Mac users from hurricane relief

Navy Pilots Who Rescued Victims Are Reprimanded
Evacuees dispersed randomly by authorities with no records kept

Evacuation Disrupted by Unconfirmed Gunshot Report: Laura Brown, a Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman in Washington, said she had no such report. "We're controlling every single aircraft in that airspace and none of them reported being fired on," she said, adding that the FAA was in contact with the military as well as civilian aircraft.

Rep. Richard Baker, R-Baton Rouge, is overheard telling lobbyists: "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did."
After billions spent on Homeland Security, U.S. now less prepared for disasters than before 9/11. Why FEMA failed: Ideologically opposed to a strong federal role in disaster relief and obsessed with terrorism, the Bush administration let a once-admired agency fall apart. /
Babies die from heat exhaustion and dehydration at NO convention center due to failure to provide help
Food aid blocked from St. Bernard Parish while President mobilizes resources for photo-ops
FEMA blocked aid offered by U.S. Forest Service and Amtrak and other aid .
US won't let Canada urban search and rescue team help Gulf Coast rescue
New Orleans levee protection needs that likely would have prevented most of the damage lost out to Iraq funding
Hundreds of City Fire Fighters and huge amounts of equipment from all over U.S. were volunteered to aid New Orleans but were only used as props for President Bushs photo ops. /
Mexican food and water field kitchens and disaster medicine experts deployed by FEMA to San Antonio rather than Lousiana

After Katrina struck, the Vice President Cheneys office ordered local officials to restore power for a pipeline -- at the expense of two rural hospitals and city water systems.

FEMA Head waited until after Katrina hit to request FEMA evacuation and aid resources be sent to the Gulf Coast later in the week, but Homeland Security Head Chertoff was the biggest factor in delays

Where was FEMA? In Gulfport, Miss., 13 days after Katrina roared through, we couldn't find one resident who had ever seen a FEMA official.
FEMA The Forever Elsewhere Management Agency
Suburban Police closed off N.O. evacuee escape route

Katrina- one of worst environmental disasters in U.S. history due to Govt neglect
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philb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-03-05 08:29 PM
Response to Original message
5. FEMA focus on Media Spin and Control of Media rather than Emergency Respon
FEMA ignored warnings, cut levee maintenance funds drastically, and chose to allow it to happen in spite of the warnings

Media Manipulation by Bush Administration regarding Katrina:

Touring the breached 17th street levee site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment. .

The open-air food distribution point Bush visited in front of the cameras Friday was torn down immediately after the president and the herd of 'news people' had left and that others which were allegedly being set up were abandoned at the same time, according to German TV.

Hundreds of City Fire Fighters from all over U.S. volunteered to aid New Orleans but were only used as props for President Bushs photo ops. From all across the nation, local fire departments have sent firefighters -- many of them trained in emergency medicine and search-and-rescue techniques -- to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The Federal Emergency Management Agency requested the help. But when the firefighters arrived in Atlanta, loaded down with the firefighting gear FEMA told them to bring, they were sent to a hotel to wait. Some of them have been waiting for three or four days now. Some have been assigned to sit through an eight-hour class on topics that included sexual harassment. And some have been dispatched to the disaster area to work as human props behind George W. Bush as he toured the destruction.

WASHINGTON -- The government's disaster chief waited until hours after Hurricane Katrina already had struck the Gulf Coast before asking his boss to dispatch 1,000 Homeland Security employees to the region -- and gave them two days to arrive, according to internal documents.
Michael Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, sought the approval from Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff roughly five hours after Katrina made landfall on the morning of Aug. 29. Brown said that among duties of these employees was to "convey a positive image" about the government's response for victims.

The same day he wrote Chertoff, Brown also urged local fire and rescue departments outside Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi not to send trucks or emergency workers into disaster areas without an explicit request for help from state or local governments. Brown said it was vital to coordinate fire and rescue efforts. (this would insure there was no aid)

Meanwhile, the airline industry said the government's request for help evacuating storm victims didn't come until late Thursday afternoon. The president of the Air Transport Association, James May, said the Homeland Security Department called then to ask if the group could participate in an airlift for refugees. Wednesday, September 07, 2005 BY TED BRIDIS Associated Press
Brown exaggerated qualifications on resume and during confirmation hearings

New Orleans levee protection needs lost out to Iraq funding
When flooding from a massive rainstorm in May 1995 killed six people, Congress authorized the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, or SELA. Over the next several years, the Army Corps of Engineers, tasked with carrying out SELA, spent $430 million on shoring up levees and building pumping stations, with $50 million in local aid. But at least $250 million in crucial projects remained, even as hurricane activity in the Atlantic Basin increased dramatically and the levees surrounding New Orleans continued to subside. Yet after 2003, the flow of federal dollars toward SELA dropped to a trickle. The Corps never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security -- coming at the same time as federal tax cuts -- was the reason for the strain. At least nine articles in the Times-Picayune from 2004 and 2005 specifically cite the cost of Iraq as a reason for the lack of hurricane- and flood-control dollars. ...In early 2004, as the cost of the conflict in Iraq soared, President Bush proposed spending less than 20 percent of what the Corps said was needed for Lake Pontchartrain ...

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