Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wake Up, America — You've Got Levees!

Posted By on Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 6:41 PM

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In a recent Freedom of Information Act request to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, a local grassroots organization has discovered that the majority of the nation’s population, 54.83 percent (156,615,630 people), lives in counties that contain levees. Sandy Rosenthal, founder and executive director of, which made the FOIA request to Homeland Security six months ago, says the rest of the nation needs to realize that the levee breeches that occurred in New Orleans are not isolated incidents.

“Levee failure and flooding is not a sea level issue; it’s not a coastal issue,” Rosenthal points out. “As exemplified by those poor souls in Georgia, it’s something that can happen in every continental state.”

The number of people living in counties with levees seems to be growing at an exponential rate, at least according to the federal government. At a congressional caucus, “Levee Protection: Working with the Geology and Environment to Build Resiliency,” held just last year, the accompanying agenda stated that 43 percent of the U.S. population lived in areas with levees.

“That’s a huge percentage difference over 43 percent,” Rosenthal says.

Considering the sheer number of levees, 883, (In a 2006 report, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determined that at least 122 of the country’s levees were deficiently maintained) and the recent flooding in Atlanta, Rosenthal thinks it’s time Americans stopped blaming Mother Nature for all of its water woes.

“Flooding is almost never a natural disaster,” Rosenthal says. “It’s almost always manmade.”

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