Justice Dept. looking for ways to blame New Orleans flood on enviros

The feds are digging around for info they could use to blame the flooding of New Orleans on environmentalists. At the request of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the Justice Department last week emailed U.S. attorneys’ offices in the Gulf Coast region with this question: “Has your district defended any cases on behalf of the Army Corps of Engineers against claims brought by environmental groups seeking to block or otherwise impede the Corps’ work on the levees protecting New Orleans?” The inquiry followed on the heels of a Sept. 8 article in the National Review Online that criticized enviro groups for suing in 1996 over the way the Corps was planning to raise Mississippi River levees and suggested that the suit may have contributed to the flooding of New Orleans — erroneously, because it was a different set of levees that broke during Hurricane Katrina. A Sept. 9 article in the Los Angeles Times also asked whether enviros bore some culpability because in 1977 they sued the Corps over a shoddy environmental impact statement on its plans to build a hurricane barrier to protect New Orleans; the Corps never followed up on the project.