Modern Gods and the Kingdom of Ur

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  1. Environmentalists only want to help or change nature to suit their own desires. If we’re really going to “let Nature do its thing,” then let’s take down the levees and watch what happens. The river doesn’t even want to go that way, as you note, it wants to go west but we force it to stay in its current path. If we did let it go, Morgan City, Amelia and many other towns would cease to exist. Bob Marshall of course stops short of that because all he really cares about is saving New Orleans.
    The fact is that most of the river is contained and controlled, so that the amount of sediment that is carried south is much less than it used to be. Even if we took down the levees south of New Orleans, the amount of land building would be very disappointing to the environmentalists.
    It’s also a fact that when the Corps of Engineers opened two major freshwater diversion projects, they ended up getting sued because of the results–fresher water. Yes, oyster farmers were really upset and got a huge cash award. So we can talk all we want about “letting Nature do its thing,” but it just ain’t happneing.
    I’ll tell you one more thing: sometimes Nature is bad. Recent hurricanes have destroyed more wetlands and marsh per year than all the other factors combined. We think humans are the bad guys and Nature is the “mother,” but she’s a heartless mother. We try to preserve habitats and species, while Nature is just as happy to destroy and send animals into extinction.
    Bob Marshall needs to lay off the peyote.

  2. Wow. Does anybody but me think there’s absolutely no chance that such a thing could happen? Imagine the uproar and outcry!
    Of course it ain’t gonna happen. Just look at at a map, that would have been a lot of eminent domain twenty five years ago, with the backlash that’s been building in favor of property rights, forget it. I think Marshall knows that, but wants people to realize that it’ll take a lot more than a few diversion projects.

  3. The likelihood of action in line with Marshall’s suggestion is, of course, zero. However, I don’t think he’s spouting peyote nonsense. Of rather – if he is, that peyote is being ingested by other people, too.

    If the River jumps to the Atchafalaya, that’s what will wipe out Morgan City, and while I haven’t been there in MANY many years, I gather it’s behind some pretty stupendous “seawalls” now. Not totally unlike what the heretical Tim Kusky wrote last September about the future New Orleans.

    I disagree with Prof. Kusky’s rather hasty timeline, but I have no trouble understanding his argument. It is, in fact, the perennial focus on more/higher/better levees that have brought about the situation facing New Orleans today.

    Levees alone are not the answer. The levees in combination with radical changes in how we “handle” the delta are required. Some people think the damage is already beyond repair, and the future is carved in stone, but I’m not convinced the war is totally lost.

    In some ways, I’m like the ACof E – an optimist in terms of man’s ability to figure this out. However, we have made terrible, costly mistakes, and the channeled, leveed River is going to exact a price, one way or another.

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