Sunday, October 11, 2009

Southeast Louisiana is sinking faster each year

Kevin Spain in the New Orleans Times-Picayune: So it's Friday morning, and I'm driving down the Lake Hermitage Road when my mind quickly connects this spot 30 miles south of New Orleans to Ilulissat in Greenland, Alexander Island in Antarctica and the Louisiana Congressional delegation.

Those spots connected because Friday morning the Lake Hermitage Road was covered with 3 to 6 inches of water -- and it was getting deeper. Now if this had been happening during any of the tropical storms of recent years, it wouldn't be newsworthy. But the only thing going on in the Gulf on Friday was a stiff south-southwest wind.

So why was this Plaquemines Parish road flooding? For the same reason anglers all across southeast Louisiana were finding roads flooding outside hurricane protection levees Friday. And the same reason the glacier at Ilulissat, Greenland, is melting at a record rate, and the Wilkins Ice Shelf on Alexander Island at the other end of the world is falling apart.

…Ten years ago a stiff blow from the south might have ruined fishing and pushed water higher at boat ramps and camp docks, but it would not have resulted in wholesale flooding of roads and lawns. Today the people who live and play outside the levees routinely pull out the knee boots when the wind gauge moves past 15 miles per hour for more than a day.

…Coastal communities outside the levees will be cut off from roads. Pipelines and refineries will have to be relocated. Communities like metro New Orleans will be forced inside floodwalls soaring to 30 feet and higher.

…The question Louisiana sportsmen should ask these politicians voting against climate legislation is simple: Who do you represent? If you oppose climate legislation, then you also oppose a future for the Louisiana coast….

Flooding on the Louisiana coast from 2002's Hurricane Lili, shot by NOAA

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