Friday, May 12, 2006

Can we join the Netherlands?

Karien van Gennip, minister of foreign trade in The Netherlands, in the Thursday Times-Picayune.:

We have become, we believe, experts when it comes to protecting ourselves against floods and constructing barriers, gates and levees to manage water. In short we have learned some very hard lessons, but those lessons may be useful to our friends around the world. We want to share our experience with others.

In 1953, at the height of our flood misery, Dutch officials went to New Orleans to learn how U.S. engineers were designing water pumps. Tulane University engineers provided us with a number of those pumps and the United States provided us with helicopters.

Doh! You can't do that anymore! Tulane doesn't have a civil engineering program anymore thanks to Scott Cowen.

Doing the right thing:
We too have a water system dominated by large rivers, with competing needs and interests: commercial, agricultural and environmental. Some of our most valuable economic interests are situated below sea-level, just as in New Orleans.

We too have to be responsible to our citizens, as they will foot the bill for the decisions we make.

Responsible to citizens -- now there's an idea!


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