A View From The Handbasket

Friday, September 16, 2005
Two can play the blame game
Posted by neros_fiddle at 9:53 PM
Rounding out our Katrina stories, there's a new White House strategy for recovering from the PR disaster (which it had previously dismissed as a "blame game"): Blame the tree-huggers!

JACKSON, Miss., Sept. 16 (UPI) -- Federal officials are searching for evidence that environmental groups might be to blame for flooding in New Orleans, the Mississippi Clarion-Ledger reports.

The newspaper said it obtained a copy of an internal e-mail sent out this week by the U.S. Department of Justice, asking U.S. attorneys whether their offices had evidence of lawsuits brought by environmentalists that might have interfered with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects involving levees.

"Has your district defended any cases on behalf of the Army Corps of Engineers against claims brought by environmental groups seeking to block or otherwise impede the Corps work on the levees protecting New Orleans?" the memo said. "If so, please describe the case and the outcome of the litigation."

As amusing as the above flailing about may be, all this brouhaha about the levees is sort of a red herring. The levees might have been able to hold against a Category 3 hurricane or a weak, fast-moving 4, but I suspect Katrina would have swamped New Orleans even if the levee improvements Bush cut had been carried out.

That doesn't excuse Bush for cutting the funding (if Katrina had been a Category 3, it could have made a big difference), but it does make one wonder if an eco-witch hunt is the most profitable use of federal dollars at the moment.

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