Advocates of a south Louisiana flood control board's lawsuit against scores of oil and gas companies over erosion of coastal wetlands are making plans to fight legislation they say could undermine the suit.
Among other things, the bill filed for this year's legislative session would ensure Gov. Bobby Jindal's power to reject an independent committee's nominations for membership on the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East. Jindal opposes the lawsuit filed by the SLFPA-E last year.
The idea that grass can armor anything is hard to believe.
But on a recent visit to the Lake Pontchartrain levee, LSU agronomist Jeff Beasley explained how plain old, garden variety grass has earned a reputation with the US Army Corps of Engineers as one of the best armoring materials to keep the huge mud walls of a levee from collapsing during a storm.
"You know how we reinforce concrete with rebar?" says Beasley. "We can do the same with these levees."
The US Army Corps of Engineers is ready to begin work on three new pumping stations.
Residents along the Lakefront are being advised to brace themselves for some major construction work. The Army Corps of Engineers is starting work on three permanent canal closures and pumps at 17th Street and Orleans and London Avenues.
The New Orleans-based flood control board that sued dozens of oil and gas companies over the erosion of coastal wetlands is trying to get that lawsuit put back in state court.
The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East's board of commissioners filed the suit in state civil district court in New Orleans on July 24. Last month, it was transferred to federal court at the request of Chevron U.S.A., one of the defendants. The company argued that federal laws govern many of the suit's claims.
Business and political leaders joined with Dutch water experts in recommending a plan that revamps the way the New Orleans region deals with storm water. It requires a major shift in how residents see water inside the levee system.
New Orleans' levee board is suing energy companies for damaging the Mississippi River delta by cutting canals through the marshland. The canals let in sea water, which kills marshes, eroding the city's protective buffer against storms. A map of the delta.
Credit Frank Relle
Oil companies dug canals to transport equipment and crews and for drilling. Salt water intrusion has doubled the width of many canals. A canal near the Mississippi River Bohemia Spillway.
Credit Frank Relle
The canals have become tools for the local seafood and charter-fishing business, too. Dr. John Lopez of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation holds a crab trap pulled from a canal. A dormant natural-gas well is in the background.
Eight years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has a new flood protection system — $14 billion of levees, pumps and flood gates built by the Army Corps of Engineers. Residents, though, don't think that will be enough. The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority - East, the local levee board, basically, says that as sea levels rise and wetlands down river get washed away, New Orleans will need more help.