11/1/2005 11:56:00 PM
To: National Desk
Contact: Mike Tidwell, 301-891-6724 or 240-460-5838 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON, Nov. 1 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Following is a statement by Mike Tidwell, author, "Bayou Farewell: The Rich Life and Tragic Death of Louisiana's Cajun Coast":
"New Orleans should be totally abandoned until President Bush commits to rebuilding barrier islands and coastal wetlands.
"In what history may record as an act of mass homicide, the Bush Administration today effectively doomed the city of New Orleans and the entire Louisiana coast to annihilation from future hurricanes. Ignoring explicit and urgent requests from Mayor Nagin, Governor Blanco, oil companies, the fishing industry, and environmentalists, the Administration today refused to fund substantive efforts to rebuild the weakened barrier islands and coastal marshes that would protect the coast.
"Given the Administration's failure to repair what's most broken in Louisiana, the only prudent act is to discontinue all recovery activities in New Orleans right now. Without a firm national plan to rebuild the barrier islands and wetlands that historically shielded New Orleans from Gulf storms, the city is not and will never be safe for human occupancy. Everyone should drop the brooms and hammers and leave right now. To stay in the wake of the Bush Administration's colossal irresponsibility is to risk the death of your children and yourself. It's time to close down New Orleans and much of the Louisiana coast unless and until the federal government finally does the right thing and learns the right lessons in the aftermath of the worst storm in U.S. history.
"Ultimately, the disaster of Katrina was not caused by breached levees and poor evacuation plans. These are just symptoms of a larger disease. The root cause of the disaster, what allowed the hurricane to reach New Orleans with such force and inflict so much harm, was the loss of one million acres of wetlands and barrier islands over the past century due to human interference. As a result, Katrina was widely predicted by me and many other journalists and scientists long before she hit. Thankfully, there's a highly workable engineering plan ready to fix the coast. For $14 billion -- the cost of 'The Big Dig' tunnel project in Boston -- we can quickly rebuild much of the buffering land.
"But today, the Bush Administration chose to ask Congress for a paltry $250 million for this purpose, a laughable fraction of what's needed. Either the President just doesn't understand the problem or he simply doesn't care. Either way, the entire city of New Orleans is being abandoned by the federal government in a way no less callous than our abandonment of thousands of people at the Convention Center and on the I-10 overpass in the days after the storm. We are making this 'national disgrace' permanent and unbearable in its scale.
Also contact Mark Davis with the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana at 225-413-2228 email@example.com
Just chew on this a while . . . and consider what's more important? The nation's economy or the citizens of Louisiana who afford the nation's economy!