Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Washington Post: "As climate changes, Louisiana seeks to lift a highway"

Posted By on Wed, Mar 21, 2012 at 10:09 AM

The Washington Post has a report on the dilemma facing the state and the feds regarding the elevation of Highway 1, which connects Port Fourchon with a country that hasn't lost its appetite for oil and gas:

Ten miles of the highway is now standing 22 feet above sea level on cement piles. But another seven miles is not, and if less than half a mile of this highway succumbs to the 14-foot storm surges expected in the future, the highway will need to be shut down, cutting off the port.

Local residents and business leaders are demanding that the federal government help pay to rebuild and elevate the remaining section of Highway 1, adding two miles to span the levees. Federal officials have provided scientific and technical expertise but will not contribute funding unless the state pledges to complete the road.

Louisiana says it doesn’t have the money.

Which leads Rolling Stone's Jared Bernstein to this not-inaccurate summation of Louisiana's position:

Officials in a state with an aggressive tax-cutting governor — Bobby Jindal can boast of having pushed through the largest tax cuts in the state’s history — one who consistently inveighs against government spending, are "demanding" the Feds send money.

The Post comments on the story come in three flavors: 1) Climate change is real! 2) No, it's not! 3) Louisiana sucks; let 'em drown. And yet it's more discussion than I've heard on the subject of Highway 1's inundation than I remember hearing from either Washington D.C. or the presidential political trail this year.

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