U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decisions continue to befuddle

Let it not be said that Hurricane Katrina’s lessons didn’t sink in. For example, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers learned that it’s good to look prepared, even if you aren’t — so it (apparently knowingly) installed 34 defective pumps in New Orleans before the 2006 hurricane season. The season was mild, so the Corps now has time to fix the gadgets’ overheating engines, broken hoses, and blown gaskets for the 2007 season. (The pumps were made by a company run by a former business partner of Jeb Bush. We’re just saying.) The Corps also learned that developing wetlands is bad, bad, bad. That’s why it just issued controversial regulations allowing development on some flood plains to proceed without environmental reviews. Curiously, Corps officials say the rule — which guides projects that fill less than half an acre of wetlands or less than 300 feet of a stream — will deter building on bigger wetlands parcels by allowing it on small ones. It’s a wonder their brains don’t burst from all that logic.