How did the environmentalists make New Orleans more susceptible to flooding?
The Army Corps of engineers intended to construct floodgates to close off water from Lake Pontchartrain during storms. A lawsuit by the local environmental group Save Our Wetlands, assisted by the national Environmental Defense Fund (now Environmental Defense), sued the Corps of Engineers, saying that gates could threaten some fish species. The U.S. Attorney warned the federal judge that a delay could kill thousands of New Orleanians in a hurricane. Nevertheless, in 1977, a federal judge stopped the project.
The Corps had already done an environmental impact study that was approved by the EPA. A second study satisfying the judge’s requirements, such as examining the mating habits of certain fish, may have taken ten years, the Corps feared. So the Corps went with what was regarded as the second-best option, building higher levees.
Why should liberals and leftists be skeptical of the environmental movement?
I disagree with liberals on most issues, but I do believe that many of them care deeply about people. So they should be alarmed when environmental leaders put the welfare of animals and plants ahead of people.
Liberalism and environmentalism have only been strongly connected for about 40 years. Franklin D. Roosevelt had no particular fondness for pristine wilderness. He boasted proudly of the dams he built and proclaimed proudly, at the dedication of the Hoover Dam (then called the Boulder Dam), that humans were “altering the geography of a whole region” that had previously been “cactus-covered waste.” In the 19th century, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels disagreed vehemently with the original population doomsayer Thomas Malthus. Sounding much like modern population control critic Julian Simon, Engels wrote that “it is ridiculous to speak of overpopulation,” because the progress of “science … is just as limitless and at least as rapid as that of population.”
The sad part is this guy is my age. So is Tim Carney, author of The Big Ripoff. Both of whom I met through the libertarian/conservative over-achiever network called AFF.