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"The Lawsuit That Sank New Orleans"



At the WSJ (sub), David Schoenbrod pins some of the blame on shoddy levee-building and pork-barrel reclamation projects, but says environmentalists' levee-busting lawsuits can't escape a share of responsibility as well:

The Corps cannot stop a project, conduct a lengthy study, go back to court, and then be sure it can pick up where it left off. Large federal projects ordinarily cannot proceed unless executives and legislatures at several levels of government agree on the same course of action at the same time. That's why litigation delay can kill necessary projects. However responsibility is apportioned, but for the lawsuit, New Orleans would have had the hurricane barrier.

...Louisiana State University's Hurricane Center found that "the flooding of most of New Orleans" came from breaches of floodwalls on canals adjoining Lake Pontchartrain; Katrina's surges did not pour over the levees but breached them because the Corps' floodwalls were shoddy. The barrier stopped by the lawsuit was designed to keep storm surges out of the lake, so it would have reduced the pressure on these floodwalls.

More: OL Sept. 9, Sept. 14, Sept. 17.

 

 


Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy
rmangual@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.