Yesterday’s court ruling that the US Army Corps of Engineers is at least partially to blame for the flooding in St. Bernard Parish and New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward after Hurricane Katrina is being hailed as a landmark ruling. The judge in the case wrote in his decision:
The Corps’ lassitude and failure to fulfill its duties resulted in a catastrophic loss of human life and property in unprecedented proportions. The Corps’ negligence resulted in the wasting of millions of dollars in flood protection measures and billions of dollars in Congressional outlays to help this region recover from such a catastrophe. Certainly, Congress would never have meant to protect this kind of nonfeasance on the part of the very agency that is tasked with the protection of life and property.
Residents of the affected areas are hailing this as a landmark decision. But their victory may be Pyrrhic and may have the perverse impact of slowing down post-Katrina recovery. Continue reading