Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Levees.org Complains of Delays

Posted By on Tue, Aug 5, 2008 at 5:35 PM

At a press conference this morning, Sandy Rosenthal, president and founder of Levees.org, protested the continuing delays in the investigations of the American Society of Civil Engineers .

     The two investigations were due to release findings in April, but to date, neither has made a report. Rosenthal called the delays “artificially manufactured to give the ASCE time. Time to protect its own reputation and time to discredit those coming forward with ethics violations…and probably worst of all, time so that the American public’s attention will just turn elsewhere.”

     

ASCE stands accused of ethical violations in its external review of the Interagency Performance Evaluation Task Force (IPET), which is the Corps of Engineers investigation into the levee failures. Dr. Ray Seed, a longtime member of the 140,000-member ASCE and who led a separate investigation into the failures, lodged his complaints to the ASCE in October 2007 in a 42-page letter that said that ASCE violated its own standards of ethics in reviewing the IPET.    As a result of Seed’s letter, ASCE launched its own internal investigation of the charges. In December, former U.S. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, R-NY, announced an independent task force that would examine the society’s procedures and policies for conducing engineering studies and national investigations. 

     Rosenthal has long believed that the IPET has stood in the way of her organization’s demand for an 8/29 Commission, which would be “a third-party independent analysis of the flood protection failures during Hurricane Katrina.” According to Rosenthal, the ASCE’s external review has been used to show the validity of the IPET.

     “If the IPET were declared null and void, then the 8/29 Commission would be a slam dunk,” Rosenthal says.

     Currently, U.S Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-LA, has a bill before the Senate for the creation of an 8/29 Commission. 

     A call was made to the ASCE for its reaction to Levees.org’s press conference. As soon as ASCE replies, Gambit Weekly will post it.

     

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