National Geographic News
Picture of oil deposited in dead marsh land in Louisiana

Oil deposits lie on dead marsh land in Port Sulphur, Louisiana, 2011. The state has lost nearly 2,000 square miles of coastal land since 1932, and a lawsuit demands that the oil and gas industry pay for the lost natural buffer.

Photograph by Sean Gardner, Getty Images

John M. Barry

For National Geographic

Published August 28, 2013

After Hurricane Katrina, which struck eight years ago August 29, and the collapse of the levee system—a system entirely designed and built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers—Louisiana wanted a new kind of local levee board, one made up of flood experts instead of political appointees. So, with 81 percent of the vote, the state's citizens passed a constitutional amendment that created the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority East (SLFPAE), a reform board that oversees the levee system of greater New Orleans on the east bank of the Mississippi River, and of which I am a member.

The members of this levee board are nominated by a committee that includes deans of the state's engineering schools and representatives of good-government groups; the governor must appoint board members from a list provided by this committee. The members of other levee boards in the state serve at the governor's pleasure. To insulate them from politics, however, SLFPAE members cannot be removed except for cause. This distinction has suddenly become important.

On July 24, the SLFPAE filed suit against Exxon Mobil, Shell,* BP, Chevron, Atlantic Richfield, and 92 other oil, gas, and pipeline companies for destruction of the "buffer zone" of land and marsh that had historically protected the area.

We expected controversy. We got an uproar.

Coastal Louisiana's Land Problem

Before talking about the undisputed facts of the case, one needs to know a basic geological truth. By depositing sediment, the Mississippi River built all the land that stretches from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, (map) south to the Gulf of Mexico. The land created includes the entire Louisiana coast, all the way from Texas to Mississippi.

This coast has no rocks; in essence it's all a kind of mud held together by the roots of plants. Because of man-made interventions in natural processes, the land-building in Louisiana has reversed itself. Since 1932, Louisiana has lost nearly 2,000 square miles of coastal lands, an area roughly the size of Delaware. If you put Delaware between New Orleans and the ocean, the city wouldn't need any levees. Coastal land is the buffer that protects people from hurricanes.

There are multiple causes of Louisiana's land loss. They include levees, the shipping industry, and dams 2,000 miles upriver. The dams, which prevent upriver sediment from entering the river, are important; the river used to carry 400 million tons of sediment a year, but just six dams in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota retain more than 100 million tons a year.

And there's one more factor: the production of oil and gas. The industry dredged 10,000 miles of canals and pipelines through marsh, allowing saltwater intrusion and killing plants whose roots held the soil together, causing the land to melt into the ocean. In addition, so much oil, gas, and other materials have been extracted that the land has actually sunk to a point that is sometimes beneath the waves. Multiple scientific studies have concluded these oil and gas activities have caused extensive land loss, and even the industry concedes this point. One U.S. Geological Survey study, which included industry scientists, concluded that 36 percent of statewide land loss is the result of oil and gas production (see Table 3 here). Other studies say the share is higher.

There's a saying down here: "The levees protect the people, and the land protects the levees." The destruction of the land buffer means that greater hurricane storm surge pounds against our flood protection system.

The levee board is suing the oil, gas, and pipeline industry because of this increased storm surge, which forces us to expend more money to maintain and possibly build a more extensive flood protection system than would otherwise be the case.

For example, we just conducted a study of the land bridge extending into Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans East. If that narrow spit of land disappears, the ocean will roar unchecked into the lake and threaten the lives and property of people who have never been threatened before. Reinforcing that alone would cost $1.2 billion. We don't have that money. We don't have a fraction of that money. And that's just one project. As we look to the future needs of protecting New Orleans, we see enormous expenses that we cannot possibly meet.

A Real-Life Pelican Brief

Legally, our case is based on two principles. First, most of the industry operations were conducted under permits that required the operator to minimize the damage they caused and restore the area to its pre-existing condition when operations ceased. We believe the industry did not comply with these permits. The second principle comes from Louisiana's unique legal tradition. The rest of the country's jurisprudence is based on English common law traditions, but Louisiana's is based on "civil law," which goes back to the Romans. For centuries, and included in state statutes for 200 years, is a concept called "servitude of drain." This prohibits one party from increasing the flow of water on someone else's property. By destroying coastal land, the industry increased the surge coming our way. It broke this law.

There is little question about the facts of the case. Bob Bea, formerly Shell's chief offshore engineer and head of a National Science Foundation study that investigated the failures during Katrina, stated in an affidavit for the state in another legal action, not for us, that industry "activities have contributed significantly to the loss of natural defenses . . . In several important cases, it was the loss of these natural defenses that contributed to the unanticipated breaches of flood protection facilities that protected the greater New Orleans area during Hurricane Katrina and led to repeated flooding during Hurricane Rita."

We want the industry to conform to the conditions they agreed to in the permits, and restore the land they damaged. If this is impossible, we want them to compensate us so we can augment the flood protection system.

To put it simply, we want the industry to fix the part of the problem they created. We want them to fix what they broke, and what they promised to fix. The industry also wants the coastal buffer restored to protect its own enormous investment in infrastructure—pipelines, wells, and 20 percent of the nation's refining capacity. Chris John, head of Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas, an industry trade association, says "our viability depends on" the buffer. But the industry wants taxpayers to pay for a problem it, the most profitable industry in the world, created.

Ironically, our part of Louisiana's coast has actually suffered much less from oil and gas operations than areas to our west. If other levee districts also sue, it could become the largest environmental action ever. So far those other levee districts have shown no sign of taking legal action. The industry is very strong in their areas—it's the biggest employer there. But if we go to trial and win, they will have to follow suit.

The question is whether we can ever get to trial. They used to say, "The flag of Texaco flies above the Louisiana capitol." Texaco has been absorbed by Chevron, and the industry remains the single most powerful political force in the state. Environmental groups have charged that Governor Bobby Jindal has accepted more than $1 million in campaign donations from the industry, and the governor has demanded that we withdraw the lawsuit. His administration is doing everything in its power to stop it. The governor personally, his cabinet members, and state agencies have condemned us.

They have called us a rogue board, promised to "reform" us—a body created as a post-Katrina reform board—next year when the legislature meets. They claimed we lacked authority to sue and threatened legal action against us—although, since we do have authority, they have not actually filed legal action. The governor personally said we were "hijacked" by trial lawyers, and his deputies have claimed—untruthfully—that we violated open meetings laws and that our attorneys will make $2 billion in fees. We were not hijacked. We conducted our meetings in conformity with the advice of an assistant attorney general. The idea for the lawsuit came from the board. No such attorney fees will be paidand if they were, it would only be because we won $10 billion to pay for flood protection.

The terms for three of our nine board members, including mine, have expired; because the board involves public safety, the law requires us to serve until replaced. For other reasons, a fourth seat on the board may become vacant. In late September, the nominating committee will decide whether to submit our names to the governor for reappointment. If we're renominated, the governor will choose whether to reappoint us.

But even if he rejects four of us, the five remaining board members will retain a majority for at least another year. That means there will be a huge battle in the state legislature to try to dismantle this independent board, this board formed after Katrina to do what it thinks is right. If the board survives that battle with five votes in favor of the suit, our attorneys will have time to make enough progress in the courts to make it impossible to withdraw.

When this suit was first filed, I was asked why we were doing this, why we were suing. The answer is simple: It's because we love New Orleans and want it to survive. And we believe if we do not take action, it will not survive.

*Shell is sponsor of National Geographic's Great Energy Challenge initiative. National Geographic maintains autonomy over content.

John M. Barry is vice president of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority East and author of Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America.

40 comments
Bob Schenck
Bob Schenck

Go to google maps and then Buras LA.. Take a look at the break in the levee on the east side of the river. You can see a river delta being formed. Katrina breached the levee and water and silt are flowing freely. The people in this article are looking for money along with their lawyers. 90% of the problem with the LA marshes are because the flow of fresh water and silt has been obstructed by LEVEES!! 

 The dummies at the "Save the Lake " association don't want river water flowing through the lake because it muddies the water. What do you think silt is?. Where will this silt end up? IN THE MARSHES ON THE EAST SIDE OF THE LAKE!!!

I guess when you want money you sue a big corporation and not the thousands of people in Louisiana who turn a blind eye to the continuing development in the wetlands and levee building. 

Hell if you let them the US Corp of engineers will cement over all of the marshes to the Gulf and then we won't have to worry about it anymore.



Luke Boyd
Luke Boyd

Where has state or federal government oversight been for the last 80 years? How long ago was it that someone noticed that the land was sinking? Why didn't the state or feds require money  be set aside for restoration? Collusion? 

Dim Dingledon
Dim Dingledon

There needs to be a game changer in the fight for the coast like allowing the river and sediment to flow into the marsh and build land mass like it did for thousands of years.  There are those who oppose this (shipping industry and their lobbyists) saying there isn't enough sediemnt in the river as there was in the past.  That's OK we don't ned to build the land from Missouri to the mouth of the river.  We just need to build a little to the east of New Orleans and little south of Chalmette to the mouth of the river.  I'd say there is more than enough sediment in the river to accomplish that. 

ken vi-thanphon
ken vi-thanphon

There are many facts and factors in the article about the suit, and there is no doubt that hydrocarbon activities have contributed to marsh erosion. Why is it, though, that the 2 main physical factors in coastal land loss are left out? There is no mention of subsidence - a gigantic fact in the Mississippi delta - and none about sea-level rise.

Jordan Duplechin
Jordan Duplechin

I like the intention of this article and it would've been better served with a more thoughtful title. Louisiana has been treated like a Third World country for decades by the oil industry. Why are Louisiana schools ranked 49th or last every year in nationwide education when the state processes/produces more oil than any other state in the nation. Billions upon billions of dollars of profit are created because for decades the industry has been literally tearing through the land and destroying the marsh that usually cools hurricanes down when they pass through, slowing them down. The people in the state of Louisiana are not benefitting from this other than better access to jobs that will probably lower their life expectancy because of exposure to cancer-causing petroleum products.

When you title an article "We're suing the oil industry to save New Orleans" it sounds like maybe you're commenting about BP's payout after the horizon spill. Or maybe between the lines you're saying "the oil industry should get sued so I can continue to go to New Orleans and get drunk on Bourbon street". That's not the issue here. It's a huge issue that concerns how industries are using their power to take away from the average person by destroying the regulations that protect them, manipulating and gutting out the government in a way that turns everyone against it.

We're not suing the oil industry to save New Orleans, we're suing the oil industry because the justice system is one of the last resorts in a country where the executive and legislative branches have basically failed under corruption. Let's start working toward making people accountable for the mistakes they make.

Dim Dingledon
Dim Dingledon

"When this suit was first filed, I was asked why we were doing this, why we were suing. The answer is simple: It's because we love New Orleans and wants it to survive. And we believe if we do not take action, it will not survive."

This board does nto love New Orleans, if it did it would have reviewed the work of the Corps for the past 6-1/2 years instead of being their lapdog.  If they loved New Orleans like the claim, they woould have demanded the wetlands be restored as partof the mutiple lines of defense we were promised.  The Corps didn't even make a restoration plan, they just copied the state's plan.  Shows how much they cared.  If Barry and the board filing suit loced New Olreans, they would have looked at the storm modeling and the designs of the new system instead of approving another system in name only (ASINO) by the Corps that doesn't even provide the required 100-year level of protection.  But no one wants to talk about that.

Dim Dingledon
Dim Dingledon

"The terms for three of our nine board members, including mine, have expired; because the board involves public safety, the law requires us to serve until replaced. For other reasons, a fourth seat on the board may become vacant. In late September, the nominating committee will decide whether to submit our names to the governor for reappointment. If we're renominated, the governor will choose whether to reappoint us."

There are actually 5 members on the board with expired terms.  Doody, Barry and Barnes 6/30/13, Estopinal 6/30/12, and Pineda 6/30/10.  Yes that's right one member was allowed to stay for three years with an expired term.  And others have been replaced with terms that expired after Pineda.

"But even if he rejects four of us, the five remaining board members will retain a majority for at least another year."

No the governor can appoint 5 members and have a majority.

Dim Dingledon
Dim Dingledon

"For example, we just conducted a study of the land bridge extending into Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans East. If that narrow spit of land disappears, the ocean will roar unchecked into the lake and threaten the lives and property of people who have never been threatened before." 

If your board had ensured the Corps did proper storm surge modeling you would have known this.  But running the same storm tracks over and over pretty much gives the same stuff over and over.

"But Louisiana's is based on "civil law," which goes back to the Romans. For centuries, and included in state statutes for 200 years, is a concept called "servitude of drain." This prohibits one party from increasing the flow of water on someone else's property. By destroying coastal land, the industry increased the surge coming our way. It broke this law."  So any improvements to drainage or any developemnnt in the state of Louisiana will also break this law.  Putting a surge barrier at the Rigolets will push water to Mississippi will break this law.  Building levees and floodwalls for one parish and not the adjacent parish will break this law.  Putting the levees along the MIssissippi River will breal this law.  The spillways that protect New Orleans will break this law.

Dim Dingledon
Dim Dingledon

"...Louisiana wanted a new kind of local levee board, one made up of flood experts instead of political appointees...the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority East (SLFPAE), a reform board that oversees the levee system of greater New Orleans on the east bank of the Mississippi River, and of which I am a member."  So is Barry inferring he is a flood expert since he is on the board. 

Barry talks about the dams up north and the damage done by the oil and gas industry, but leaves out the biggest cause of our eroding coast, the confinement of the Mississippi River to the banks of those levees that starve the marsh of sediment and fresh water needed to be self sustaining just as nature had done for thousands of years. 

"The levee board is suing the oil, gas, and pipeline industry because of this increased storm surge, which forces us to expend more money to maintain and possibly build a more extensive flood protection system than would otherwise be the case."  Mr. Barry please show us the analysis of your baord and their approval of the storm surge used to design the new levee system.  Just where is the coastline that was assumed in that model?  It must be the coastline you are willing to accept if your board approved it as the input for something as critical as the new levee designs for the New Orleans area.

rick valanti
rick valanti

I still believe that New Orleans should be made into a port and get rid of all property below sea level. Building and rebuilding below sea level is pure stupidity.

John Shedon
John Shedon

This is extortion, pure and simple. If you look at the economic and tax benefits that Louisiana enjoyed from the last 40 years, how can you morally state they owe you for actions they took with the states blessing? I can understand if there was some trickery or fraud, but everything was done in the open.

Your own article points out that the lack of sediment caused by actions taken outside of the oil and gas industry has cut off the mechanism to replenish that which hurricanes remove. As for the subsidence, you assume that there was gas under every square foot of marsh, but there was not, only certain areas.

What will the net effect of your lawsuits be? Higher energy prices that everyone has to pay because you raised the cost of doing business. Raise it enough and every one of those companies will loose competitively for new work and contracts to companies who are not being sued. Even though oil companies are very flush with cash, that's because of the risk premium of doing business and producing a commodity that everyone needs.

John Hedley
John Hedley

So wait a sec, it's NOT OK to manipulate the sea coastline for manmade purposes and then NOT UNDO the manipulation but it's OK TO manipulate the river shoreline and then REDO that manipulation so man can continue to live below sea level in Nola? Yeah, that sounds just about right for tree hugger logic. How about we restore the whole darn thing back to the way nature intended instead of being conveniently selective about it, let Nola swim.  

John Hedley
John Hedley

So wait a sec, it's NOT OK to manipulate the sea coastline for manmade purposes and then NOT UNDO the manipulation but it's OK TO manipulate the river shoreline and then REDO that manipulation so man can continue to live below sea level in Nola? Yeah, that sounds just about right for tree hugger logic. How about we restore the whole darn thing back to the way nature intended instead of being conveniently selective about it, let Nola swim.

You cannot blow hot and blow cold with the same breath: Either it all gets restored to the way nature intended or it can ALL be selectively, and electively, restored as economics and politics see fit, without litigious compulsion.  

Roger Warner
Roger Warner

The Land of the Longs involved in political chicanery?  Scandalized I am.  Shocked even. 

Sean Hao
Sean Hao

you should believe the law rather than politics or its patron. because that's why America became the most powerful country in the world. if the report is true and evidence is solid, you'd better sue them for the damage and require them to take the responsibility.

Christian Coopersmith
Christian Coopersmith

Sue the oil and gas industry, but in doing so at least agree to two principles that cannot really be gainsaid:

1. Make sure you offset the damages you seek from the oil and gas industry by the benefits their activity has conferred on the gulf coast over the decades. They have provided livelihoods for thousands of Louisianans and made much of the life of the state and the gulf coast possible. There can be no fair solution that ignores these contributions.

2. Be honest about what you are doing, for while you may be suing the oil and gas companies, you are not really seeking damages from them. You are seeking to take money from their employees and prospective employees and those of their suppliers, from whom they will be able to buy less labor and services. You are seeking to take money from their customers, who will face higher costs. You are seeking to take money from their shareholders, including institutional shareholders like teacher pension funds. Just be honest about who really pays.

That's all I ask from you -- the courage to be truly "independent" and truthful, as you tout yourselves.

Lara Patterson
Lara Patterson

"So New Orleans Can Survive."  If the Mississippi River had its own way, its course would have by-passed New Orleans in the 1960s or 70s. 

Instead, to save New Orleans, over a hundred years of engineering and politicking has built build upstream dams, levees, deepened the Port of New Orleans.  This lawsuit ignores history.  Ignores experience.  Ignores upriver dams, the Corp of Engineers.  Be honest:  your lawsuit doesn't ask oil and gas to pay just a part.  If that was the case, you'd have sued others to "pay their part," too.     

As Mark Twain observed, "One who knows the Mississippi will promptly aver, not aloud but to himself, that ten thousand River Commissions, with all the mines of the world at their back, cannot tame that lawless stream, cannot curb it or confine it, cannot say to it, Go here, or Go there, and make it obey; cannot save a shore that it has sentenced; cannot bar its path with an obstruction which it cannot tear down, dance over, and laugh at."

John Keenan
John Keenan

Note to John Barry, 

Bravo, good luck, hang tough, don't give in, this action you are taking is inspired and deserves to be taken seriously...my best wishes to you in this and all your endeavors.  Your book "Rising Tide" should be required reading for anyone who wonders how the devastation wrought by Katrina was the direct result of actions taken by man and can be considered a man-made phenomenon, not an act of nature.  

Don't give up!

John Keenan
John Keenan

Dear @Tom French  ,

Tsk ah tsk ah...shame on you.  

The politicians and power elite in Louisiana have sold our states soul to the oil and gas industry for decades.  

The oil companies who channelized Louisiana's bayous and water ways to bring energy on shore were contractually required to restore the wetlands they destroyed.

If continued domestic oil and gas production could be considered in the National Interest, not to mention the fisheries and the role Louisiana wetlands play for migratory birds, everyone should realize we all have a stake in the salvation of Louisiana's wetlands.

Ironically the Oil & Gas Industry will probably escape prosecution for the damage they have obviously done to our wetlands because Louisiana failed to enforce the contracts which required the wetlands be restored.

That the damage done by Katrina was directly a result of the destruction of the wetlands should be common knowledge.  But money talks and poor people walk.

Mr. French, New Orleans faces no challenge from rising tides that isn't faced by every other sea port at sea level on earth.  Let that thought sink in for a minute mister.

Hurricane Andrew, which destroyed southern Florida in 1992, hit Florida, went back into the Gulf of Mexico, made landfall again just west of New Orleans before making it's northeasterly trek to the New England states before losing it's destructive force.  Hurricane Andrew was a category 5 when it made land fall near Morgan City.  Katrina was a category 1 at land fall.  Andrew was a non-event., I didn't evacuate, I road it out at home, and my street never even flooded.

The memory of the 1800 people who died and the dislocation Katrina caused dredges up feelings and memories a person like Mr. French could hardly ever be expected to empathize with.

Tom French
Tom French

If they are going to sue the oil companies then they need to sue the government for building the dams up north as well.  And while they are at it they need to sue the human race as well as God for the global warming that is surely part of the action that has helped to destroy the coast line especially because the oceans are supposed to rise from the melting ice in both the artic and the antartic  areas.

Dim Dingledon
Dim Dingledon

Those in opposition also tr to divert attention by saying they will use the BP fines for the restoration effort.  All of the fines from BP, offshore oil revenue from the federal government combined is not enough to pay for the restoration.  The free and unobstructed flow of fresh water and sediment would hardly cost a fraction of the costs proposed by the CPRA, yet no one is giving it consideration because they don't want to upset the special interests of the shipping industry.  Well the shipping industry could care less about our flood protection.  They are already positioning themselves to dredge the river deeper to make way for larger ships once the Panama Canal improvements are complete.  What they failed to consider is the cost of the additional flood threat the deepening of the river has on New Orleans allowing free and unobstructed storm surge to migrate up river to New Orleans.  The economic analysis done by the Port of New Orleans does not include the real costs deepening the river would have on the flood protection system.  So there should be no need for those tasked with flood protection to consider the economic cost that removing the levees would have on the shipping industry.

Dim Dingledon
Dim Dingledon

ken,

Barry and the SLFPA-E allowed the new levee system to be built in New Orleans by the Corps with a combined total allowance for sea level rise and settlement of 1 foot over 50 years.  The settlement alone will exceed that value.  Yet Barry claims they are in a fight for the survival for New Orleans.  How can it survive if you let poor design decisions like that be used? I guess that is the best we can expect from the SLFPA-E, the board that is suing the oil industry, and the board that is headed by an accountant and an ex-football coach.  

John Keenan
John Keenan

@Dim Dingledon 

Dear Dim, 

I like that...Dim, you need to do a little more research into John Barry's background.  I dare say he knows more about what he is talking about than you do.  Better to keep your mouth shut and appear ignorant than to open it and remove all doubt.

Yo buddy on the Big Muddy

John Keenan
John Keenan

@Dim Dingledon 

Dim,

Please, for your own sake, crawl back into the hole you crawled out of.  Please read John Barry's book "Rising Tide" before you dare say Barry IGNORED the impact of building levees on the Mississippi River.  Please.

a friend

John Keenan
John Keenan

@rick valanti 

News flash to Rick.  New Orleans is a port.  Has been a port for almost three centuries now...sorry if you knew that already.  Better take a hard look around you before you say build ling and rebuilding below sea level, and I presume you also mean flood plains, before you say what is pure stupidity.

After Katrina, there was a nationwide review of levees and over 180 levee systems in the nation were found to be as bad or in worse condition than what we have in New Orleans.  New Orleans isn't in this fight alone.

Word to Sacramento and Tampa.

John Keenan
John Keenan

@John Shedon 

Gee John, I'll be sure to direct the environmental rapists to your neighborhood next since you don't mind.

I would hardly call what the offenders did to our state a blessing.  Was it nice to have the industry for a few decades?  Yes, did we benefit from it?  Yes.

But the parties involved entered into this mutually beneficial arrangement under the expectation the channelization of our wetlands would never be left as is.  That is the issue pure and simple.  The oil and gas companies know this.  They just count on bone headed people like you to pressure your elected representatives to fagetaboutit.

It's pretty clear what is causing the damage.  Find a friend who has an airplane, or rent one, and fly over our coast and call me up would you.

Like the man caught in bed with another woman said when his wife walked in on him en flagrente dilecto..."honey! who you gonna believe?  Your lying eyes or me?"

Like my kid told me one time I caught him doing something he shouldn't have, it wasn't the oil industry who did this...it was someone who looked like them!

John Keenan
John Keenan

@John Hedley 

Your "anti-tree hugger" attitude is as offensive, predictable, and universally applicable to any situation as you think "tree hugger logic" is.  Neither one is going to solve anything and we need to do something about this as a country.

John Keenan
John Keenan

@John Hedley 

John,

You like shipping exports out of the Midwest to the rest of the world by ship?

You like exporting American grain by barge?

You like importing crude oil and Korean steel by barge up the Mississippi River?

You like eating blue crabs from the "Chesapeake Bay" which were imported from Louisiana to Maryland?  

You like eating fresh fish?

Get a grip buddy, you can't ignore this.  Something must be done.  Yesterday.

John Keenan
John Keenan

@Sean Hao 

Sean, what magical land are you from where laws are not written by politicians?  

The report is true.  The evidence is solid.  We are suing them for damage and repair they were contractually obligated to provide but which was not enforced because too many politicians and business men with their hands in the till didn't see any benefit to them in cleaning up behind themselves.

Just like all children, if they could get away with it, fine, they tried to get away with it.  

This suit doesn't have a snowballs chance in hell of getting to judgment.  The system and the power brokers will see to it that it gets quashed.  So, don't worry about it.  And that is a shame.

John Keenan
John Keenan

@Christian Coopersmith Christian, since the nation has been the beneficiary of all the cheap oil and gas brought through Louisiana's wetlands, that means, you benefited?  You owe?  

Because a mining company came to our area and had to pay people to do their work is some how something we in Louisiana need to be grateful for?  Grateful that we didn't have to work for free?  Industry paying for industry pollution is nothing new.

Laws governing the flow of water and the damage flowing water does are as old as law itself.  Ask any lawyer.  This is nothing new.

John Barry is what's new, the first guy to stand up to the system that created this monstrosity and ask the responsible parties to live up to their obligations.  That's all that's new about this.

Screw their customers who got cheap energy at our expense, screw their investors who have taken illicit profits from raping our state's flora and fauna.  Screw the pension investors if they don't know what they are investing their money in.  If you can say screw us because it's our backyard this happened in and not yours, then screw you too.

Who has no courage to be truthful and truly independent?  YOU?  You are kidding me, right?

John Keenan
John Keenan

@Lara Patterson It's not about New Orleans "surviving."  

Let the river divert down the Atchafalaya Basin.  You will never get a kernel of grain from the Midwest out of the country by sea ever again.  The AB doesn't afford a deep enough of a draft for an ocean going ship to pass...the nation has made an investment in New Orleans as a port you would throw away to take that course.  Over a 100 years of engineering and politicking is precisely what caused the problems in New Orleans and the wetlands.  

The Mississippi Delta flooded in 1927 and Herbert Hoover pushed through putting levees on the Ms River from Memphis or St. Louis South.  

The lawsuit ignores what history that you don't ignore?  Experience?  Hunh?  

The lawsuit only asks the oil and gas companies to pay what they contractually agreed to pay when the permits were let to dig the channels.  You got a problem with that in a nation of laws not men?  

The Corp has been sued already and found immune.  Or, didn't you know you cannot sue the Federal government?  

That Old Man River has been prevented from doing what it wants to do by MAN is why all this is happening.  It's not global warming, or rising seas, it's man made levee's preventing the natural rebuilding of the Mississippi Rivers alluvial flood plain. 

Dim Dingledon
Dim Dingledon

Nothing new in the video.  Same old Barry lines.

Dim Dingledon
Dim Dingledon

I can tell you I forgot more about storm surge than Barry will ever know.  Some people have trouble accepting and facing the truth.  The thuth is for 6-1/2 years Barry and the SLFPA-E have failed to do the one job they were tasked with - oversight of the Corps of Engineers in rebuilding the levees in New Orleans.  They admitted themselves they did not look at the modeling or the designs.  The only ignorance is anyone believing Barry and the SLFPA-E are flood experts and are looking out for the public interest.  Neither is true.  Barry didn't even know what 100-year proteciton was when he was placed on the SLFPA-E.  He admits he doesn't know about storm surges, but then says he is comfortable in making decisions regarding the storm surge modeling.  Sometimes individuals are in so far over their heads that they need to be enlightened because they are too dumb to even know they are dumb.

Regarding the Mississippi River, the levees will have to come down for flood protection and for restoration efforts. Barry and the SLFPA-E have fought this.  The river levees block storm surge from migrating in the east-west direction and allow storm surge to migrate upriver to New Olreans.  But where is your favorite ex-football coach on this issue?  I guess traveling back and forth from New Orleans to DC on the public dime getting material to write another book.   

Dim Dingledon
Dim Dingledon

If I crawled under a rock I might drown from the rising tide caused by Barry and the SLFPA-E failing to oversee the work of the Corps.

John Hedley
John Hedley

@John Keenan @John Hedley there's always another place to put a port- all you need is enough dredging equipment and access to the sea, the Seabees proved that time and again in WWII. Nothing special about Nola that  eight lanes of highway from Jackson to Biloxi or Port Charles couldn't make up for- and it would certainly help those moribund one trick pony economies that don't rely on tourism- the 21st century's version of institutionalized slavery- the way Nola shamelessly does.

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