Wednesday, July 19, 2006

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

Flood Washington

Right Hand Thief -- Fool us once... won't get fooled again

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At 7/19/2006 07:03:00 AM, Anonymous Sophmom said...

Independent oversight is a novel notion. This is a national issue and I will contact my senators. Thanks again for the important heads up.

At 7/19/2006 07:15:00 AM, Blogger Donnie McDaniel said...

LOL don't you mean our Sin-ators? Vitter is a diseased Chicken Hawk. Or as I have been known to call him, David "The Critter" Vitter.

At 7/19/2006 04:32:00 PM, Blogger Rob said...

I know a bunch of Advocate journalists, Amy among them. She's a good reporter. Nice to see her sticking up for what we all need.

At 7/19/2006 04:52:00 PM, Blogger Donnie McDaniel said...

Oh no, here we go again. So what happens when a Marine gets mad? You guys might wanna check out the latest post. Wanna see Louisiana in action, check it out. Someone better get their act together, because with all the La. blogs together, I know they will not wanna feel the wrath we can bring as one.

At 7/19/2006 06:22:00 PM, Blogger Schroeder said...

Donnie, you wouldn't be referring to the critter Davey can't keep zipped inside his pants would you?

Sophmom -- thanks for your support.

I heard that the McCain-Feingold amendment passed. Now the House and Senate versions of the bill have to be reconciled.

It's a preliminary victory!

At 7/19/2006 06:30:00 PM, Blogger Schroeder said...

Oh ... I can't say I've read an Amy Wold piece I disagreed with. I may not read The Advocate as much as the Times-Picayune, but in some ways, it strikes me as a little more insightful.

At 7/19/2006 06:52:00 PM, Blogger Schroeder said...

Oh ... I can't say I've read an Amy Wold piece I disagreed with. I may not read The Advocate as much as the Times-Picayune, but in some ways, it strikes me as a little more insightful.


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