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+ - Corps of Engineers Liable for Katrina Damage

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Hugh Pickens
Hugh Pickens writes "The Christian Science Monitor reports that a federal judge has ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers — and thus the US government — is liable for a big chunk of the damage caused when hurricane Katrina pushed ashore on August 29, 2005 by failing to stop the natural widening of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet canal (aka Mr. Go) causing it to eventually bump up against the shore of Lake Borgne, on the city's east side. "It is the court's opinion that the negligence of the corps, in this instance by failing to maintain the MR-GO properly, was not policy, but insouciance, myopia, and shortsightedness," wrote US District Court Judge Stanwood Duval. Judge Duval said he believed it was the failure to shore up the outlet that "doomed the channel to grow to two to three times its design width" allowing waves on Lake Borgne to enter the Mr. Go and travel into the east side of the city, battering the levees to a degree to which they were not designed. "One of the greatest catastrophes in the history of the US" was both predictable and preventable, testified veteran Louisiana geologist Sherwood Gagliano, a former Corps consultant. The landmark ruling awards $719,000 to four plaintiffs from the city's Lower Ninth Ward and neighboring St. Bernard Parish who filed suit in 2006 but more importantly now puts pressure on President Obama to help the region settle claims that could reach into the billions of dollars. "Don't call this a natural disaster. It's a man-made disaster, and everyone in New Orleans knows that," says New Orleans screenwriter John Biguenet."
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Corps of Engineers Liable for Katrina Damage

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