Friday, October 06, 2006

Locked Up

U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon has ordered that the Industrial Canal Lock Replacement Project be put on hold in order to further evaluate the enviromental impact of the project.

"The court finds that the corps failed to take a 'hard look' at the environmental impacts and consequences of dredging and disposing of the canal's contaminated sediment and should revisit the project in light of recent catastrophic events," U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon wrote in his opinion, referring to the effects of Hurricane Katrina.

The ruling was hailed as a victory by Pam Dashiell, president of the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association, which filed the lawsuit asking that the project be reviewed. The neighborhood group, concerned about disruptions from the $764 million construction project, had worked against it in tandem with environmental groups concerned about contamination of the waterway.

I am neither a lawyer (thank God) nor an enviromental expert so I don't want to get into the complexities and impact of this decision. I'll let you educate yourself and come to your own conclusion.

I do know that shipping is an integral portion of the New Orleans area economy.
"The Gulf Intracoastal Canal Association estimates that for every 24 hours that the lock is closed, the nation's transportation industry loses $500,000," the statement said. "Before Katrina, about 9,000 direct and indirect jobs relied on deepwater shipping to the port's Inner Harbor, and the lock replacement project is essential to retaining those jobs in the long term."
Whatever the outcome it should come soon. The rebuilding of New Orleans should not be held up while lawyers lock horns.

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