Save wetlands today!
The full Senate has scheduled a vote on WRDA ("werda") today. That's the Water Resources Development Act of 2005 (S.728) which has been sitting in limbo since last summer:
A bill to provide for the consideration and development of water and related resources, to authorize the Secretary of the Army to construct various projects for improvements to rivers and harbors of the United States, and for other purposes.
This is not your average flag-burning nonsense legislation. It's an authorization of a comprehensive set of projects that will have a long-lasting impact on the nation's navigable waterways and wetlands, in particular here in Louisiana.
Thanks to pressure exerted by Sen. James Jeffords (recall that he's the guy who bailed out of the Republican Party in 2001 because it had become too extremist), the Senate recently removed all amendments from the bill, one of which exemplified Vitty-cent's "Davey-come-lately" attitude on coastal restoration. Vitter was working in earnest before Hurricane Katrina to stop the Corps of Engineers from interfering with his logging industry friends who were trying to turn the Maurepas basin into cypress mulch:
The senator said he was attempting to give homeowners protection from overzealous regulators who might object to installation of something as simple as a backyard swing set. But environmentalists said it would have allowed the cutting of cypress trees that are critical to wetlands and the state's coastal areas. A spokesman for Sen. James Jeffords, I-Vt., the ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said the provision was removed from the bill at Jeffords' insistence.
The Gulf Restoration Network is calling on citizens to use this WRDA legislation to force the Corps of Engineers to modernize.
The issue is independent oversight. Two new amendments were drawn up by Senators McCain and Feingold to require true independent review to check the Corps' work.
Amy Wold of the Baton Rouge Advocate recently wrote a column in support of independent review.
Tell your Senator to support amendments to the Water Resources Development Act to be offered by Senators Feingold and McCain, and tell them that Congress should stop funding projects that make little economic sense or that trash our environment. Tell them to fund only those projects that are truly the highest priority.
7/19/06 update -- feel free to copy and paste this letter I wrote:
I urge you to support independent oversight of Corps of Engineers projects -- the sort of independent review we saw with, for example, the NSF-funded review of New Orleans' levee systems by engineers like Bob Bea.
We need not just independent review of engineering projects, but of the wetland development permits issued by the Corps, to make sure that the Corps isn't succumbing to political pressure to permit environmentally-destructive projects.
Please support the McCain-Feingold amendments attached to the WRDA bill, and add whatever language might be necessary to require review of *ALL* Corps activities.
I know you care about Louisiana, and that you recognize the importance of preserving her habitat, cherished for both its beauty and its ability to absorb storm surge.
America's Wetland isn't just something to put in tourism marketing brochures -- it's essential for the survival of Louisiana's inhabitants.
Ivory-billed woodpecker, cypress logging, Corps of Engineers, & Vitter provision
Vitter could kill coastal restoration act
Vitter cypress mulch provision bagged by the press
Vitter to kill the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker once and for all
White House whitewashes Corps of Engineers' report
Let's hire the Dutch!
Independent, objective science
Organizational dysfunction at the Corps of Engineers
Rebuild "America's Wetland" -- smarter
Right Hand Thief -- Fool us once... won't get fooled again
Tags: Hurricane Katrina | Katrina | New Orleans | Louisiana | We Are Not OK | America's Wetland | Corps of Engineers