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Pre-Katrina Blanco Wanted Levees Lower

The following Blanco press release news report was published in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, just days before hurricane Katrina hit:

Blanco Launches Drive for Wetlands Support

By Mark Schleifstein

The Times-Picayune

August 25, 2005

Students are urged to join the campaign

Louisiana is in good financial shape to begin the job of rebuilding its disappearing coastline, Gov. Kathleen Blanco said Wednesday, although there are nagging concerns about how the state can spend $540 million in federal money included in the energy appropriations bill approved in July.

"The energy money is still a little bit of a question mark, " Blanco said while traveling between news conferences in New Orleans and Houma to unveil a new postcard-writing campaign aimed at garnering national support for the state’s coastal restoration. In the week after the energy bill was signed, President Bush said the money could be used as the state’s match for part of the $1.2 billion Louisiana Coastal Area Ecosystem Restoration plan expected to be authorized by Congress later this year as part of the Water Resources Development Act.

At Terrebonne High School in Houma, as cheerleaders chanted "S-A-V-E, save our coast," she signed legislation requiring an election this fall on an amendment to the state Constitution requiring any money received from offshore oil production in federal waters to be set aside for coastal restoration.

The state already dedicates a share of its offshore oil and gas revenue for restoration projects.

Blanco said she may also ask the Legislature to assign a share of the unused "tobacco settlement" money to coastal restoration. And she’s trying to persuade coastal parishes to coordinate the spending of their share of the energy money — they get 35 percent of the $540 million — with the state’s restoration plans.

"We’re looking at many ways to increase funding," Blanco said. "We will stretch what we have to make it happen."

The postcard campaign is the latest publicity push by the America’s Wetland Foundation aimed at increasing national public awareness of the state’s wetland problems.

Blanco urged students from McDonogh 35 High School of New Orleans and Harry Hurst Middle School of Destrehan attending a morning news conference at the Aquarium of the Americas to write to members of Congress and President Bush, urging them to support coastal restoration efforts.

The campaign has been developed for teachers to use at the beginning of the school year in lessons on how to write persuasive letters. A teaching curriculum is available on the Web at www.americaswetland.com, along with a link to send e-mail messages to Congress and the president. People also can call 1 (866) 4WETLAND for packets of postcards to be used in the campaign.

Newspaper advertisements and bulletin boards will be popping up across the state during the next few weeks urging students and adults to participate in the campaign.

"Get your pens out. Get on your computers and write," Blanco said. "Write, right now."

At Terrebonne High, Blanco said science teacher Paul Johnson created the model letter-writing campaign several years ago that inspired the new publicity initiative.

"You’ve led the state in this effort," Blanco said in an afternoon rally in the school auditorium. "You’ve used your own words to tell others across the country about this crisis through your own letters."

She told the high school students to send a special message to Bush, asking him to accept her offer of an aerial and boat tour to show him both the state’s disappearing wetlands and a few of its first restoration projects.

President George Bush looks out the window of Air Force One at some of the worst damage from Hurricane Katrina as he flies over New Orleans, Louisiana, on his return to Washington, DC. Bush said it would take years to recover from the deadly ravages of Hurricane Katrina, which he branded one of the worst national disasters in US history.

"Mr. President, come on down," she chanted along with them. "Come on down to Louisiana."

Blanco was accompanied on the two-city trip by U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., as well as local and state officials, and the group was met by other elected officials at both events.

To rightfully understand the message, mentally replace the phrase "wetlands support" with "lowering the levees." For that is exactly was being demanded, as any study of the forty years fight between the environmentalists and the Army Corp of Engineers will show.

This is so obvious an historical fact it is even recognized by our masters at the New York Times. Read what the Times worthies grudgingly admit in their latest attempts to blame even the weather on President Bush:

Design Flaws Seen in New Orleans Flood Walls

NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 20 — A surge from Lake Pontchartrain was the catastrophic situation that the corps had been guarding against since Hurricane Betsy 40 years ago. Initially, the corps wanted to build a giant barrier to keep water from the Gulf of Mexico from reaching Lake Pontchartrain and flooding the canals.

That project was delayed by lawsuits from environmental groups that contended the corps had failed to study ecological effects. By the late 1970’s, the corps abandoned that approach and began raising levees along the lake and the Mississippi and adding flood walls on the canals.

But of course even these stop-gap efforts by the Army Corp of Engineers were fought beak and claw by the environmentalists.

To see some examples of their work, check out the very deluxe website, America’s Wetlands, where the above article is still archived. While there, read up on the past legislation, and how money was diverted from preventing flooding — to encouraging flooding.

You will seldom hear about any of this in our one party media, like the New York Times. It does not comport with their agenda at the moment.

Indeed, in a few years if not months, the usual suspects will be back to demanding that the levees be lowered — if not removed altogether.

I do wonder what all those Louisiana school kids who had to write those letters to Congress must be thinking. They got quite a little lesson.

I hope they remember it when they are old enough to vote.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, September 20th, 2005. Comments are currently closed.

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