Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Wetland loss south of New Orleans

The area south of New Orleans has the highest wetland loss in the world. This is the wetlands which helped create the disaster wrought upon New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina. Those wetlands had been a buffer protecting New Orleans for generations, but damage done to the wetlands by the Oil and Gas industry is rapidly destroying the wetlands. When Katrina hit the storm surge went right over nonexistant wetlands and directly submerged the city of New Orleans.

Legislation Directs Money to Gulf Coast Restoration covers a recent bill signed which will help bring money to restore the wetlands. The money is tied to royalties from oil and gas production from new wells yet to be drilled in the Gulf.

So, let's see, they need the to restore the wetlands NOW. The wetlands damage was caused by the Oil and Gas industry in the first place. And they're planning to expand the oil and gas industry and in some future time royalty revenue will begin flowing which will be be used to fund wetlands restoration. This is a very twisted picture.

One of the speakers in the piece had an interesting thought ... money is not wetlands. What New Orleans needs is wetlands, to protect the city from the next large storm. Since money is not wetlands, with the money you buy services and programs that work for wetlands restoration.

Without massive investment to do something to hold back the ocean, the had better plan to abandon New Orleans. Most of that city is below sea level to begin with, and while holding back an ocean is possible (just ask the people of Venice or The Netherlands) it's expensive and requires investment in infrastructure.