This comes out of DHinMi's diary about helping the victims of Katrina.
I don't want to hijack DHinMi's diary focused on helping the victims with a long drawn out discussion of the wisdom of rebuilding a city that is located in a giant gumbo bowl.
Each year we have hurricane's that strike the coasts of this country, and wipe out the half-million dollar houses out on the barrier islands. Does it make since to have public policy in this country that encourages construction on barrier islands and other temporary lands by not making the millionares who live in these houses pay the full cost of building on a barrier island?
It's not like the idea that building on ephemeral coastal lands is a new idea. As the bible says:
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."
Not a new idea at all.
And as the rebuilding of New Orleans begins, instead of rebuilding the city as it was, at constant threat from the sea because of the area's geography, maybe relocating the city to higher ground needs to be explored as an option.
As HollyGreenDem points out after the 1993 Mississippi floods relocation was an option
Since the Great Flood of 1993, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has acquired, relocated or elevated more than 22,000 structures, sharply reducing future disaster costs by removing many of the nation's repeatedly flooded homes, businesses and farms from harm's way. In particular, FEMA relocated approximately 12,800 homes, businesses and farms in nine states bordering the Mississippi and Missouri rivers - approximately one-out-of-seven structures damaged by the Great Flood. For the first time, repeatedly flooded homeowners opted to use federal relief to relocate their homes to higher ground - ending the cycle of rebuilding their homes in harm's way and instead launching the largest voluntary relocation in the nation's history. In Illinois and Missouri alone, 5,100 homes and businesses were relocated at a cost of $66 million. These structures which had previously received $191 million in flood insurance payments. When floodwaters returned in 1995, approximately 2,500 people flooded in 1993 were now on higher ground; disaster relief for Saint Charles County, Missouri fell from $26 million in 1993 to less than $300,000 in 1995.
The truth is that the whole Louisiana coast is rapidly turning to sea
Rebuilding New Orleans with higher seawalls looks a lot like sticking a finger in the leak in the dam.
Louisiana accounts for 80 percent of the nation's coastal land loss, with rates ranging between 25 and 35 square miles per year. Over the past 50 years, more than 1,000 square miles of Louisiana have crumbled and turned to open water - that's an entire football field every half hour. Some of this loss can be blamed on the levee system, which has channelled water and sediment into the Gulf of Mexico instead of depositing them on the coastal wetlands.
The construction of an extensive levee system along the Mississippi River from the 1950s to the 1970s, with the goal of maintaining navigation and reducing the flooding of adjacent homes and businesses, has prevented the coastal wetlands from receiving their regular nourishment of riverine water, nutrients, and sediment, a diet critical to wetland survival. These regional impacts are exacerbated by other hydrologic alterations that have modified the movement of fresh water, suspended sediment, and saltwater through the system. Canals dredged for navigation, or in support of mineral extraction, have allowed saltwater to penetrate into previously fresh marshes. The current regulatory climate, along with improved technologies, prevents similar problems today; however, the damage already done continues to render local areas less able to combat subsidence and more susceptible to saltwater intrusion.
According to the Louisiana Department of Resources Office of Coastal Restoration and Management, if the current land loss rates continue unabated, by the year 2050, Louisiana will have lost more than 527,000 acres of coastal wetlands. That means that the Gulf of Mexico will move inland more than 30 miles, and New Orleans and other coastal cities will be open to the full force of Gulf weather.