To the editor:
In September 1965, Hurricane Betsy scored a near direct hit on New Orleans with winds of up to 150 mph. A storm surge from the Gulf of Mexico entered Lake Pontchartrain on the north side of the city. The water level in the lake rose, levees were breached, property was destroyed and people drowned. Following Betsy, there was an outcry for something to be done.
The plan was to build flood control structures that would normally be completely open but which could be temporarily closed during a hurricane. The Army Corps of Engineers stepped forward, Congress approved funding and engineering of the project began. But environmental groups challenged the project, on the basis that it could not be proved there would be no impact on the ecology of the lake.
Common sense would dictate that any impact would be minimal and the benefit in terms of saving human life and property would greatly outweigh the risk. Nevertheless, the environmentalists won. The levee improvements weren’t as good as they could have been.
Forty years later, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, and there was a very dear price to be paid for that decision.
Now there are new issues, here in Nevada and across the country. Is the routing of Interstate 11 on the east side of Las Vegas going to be based on the best engineering solution, or will radical environmental voices prevail? Will the Keystone pipeline be delayed forever because environmentalists don’t want to burn another drop of fossil fuel? Will cattle no longer be allowed to graze on federal land in Nevada, even if Cliven Bundy and all of the other ranchers pay the grazing fees, because environmentalists say that cattle and the desert tortoise cannot co-exist?
To what extent will we self-inflict pain to slow global warming when nothing has been done to stop China from building a new coal-fired power plant every 10 days?
Environmental concerns are important and must be considered, but there must also be a balance using common sense and good judgment. Such decisions should never be based on politics. As a New Orleans resident during the 40 years from Betsy to Katrina, I have seen the tragic consequences of bad environmental decisions. Let us all learn from tragedies as new challenges emerge.
NORTH LAS VEGAS
To the editor:
Las Vegas Fire Chief Willie McDonald made a statement about the ambulance report commissioned by American Medical Response, but admitted he hadn’t read the report (“Report: LV fire biased,” Tuesday Review-Journal). That reminded me of a situation involving a well-known politician.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated that we needed to pass Obamacare so that we could find out what was in it.
This is what we pay our leaders six-figure salaries for — to pass judgment on issues without even knowing what they are talking about?
To the editor:
Regarding the situation in Ukraine (“Eastern Ukraine regions move toward self-rule,” Monday Review-Journal), what is it we don’t know about eastern Ukraine and Crimea, and the people in that region? Who are these people, and what do they want? Russia is a big country; but so too is the United States. Remember when many in the South wanted to separate from the northern states? We got the Civil War.
What were the wants, desires and justifications of the majority of those in the South? Remember when our country simply took a chunk of northern Mexico and made it part of our country? What were the wants and desires of all the Mexicans living in that region? With the way we treat the Mexicans, what are their wants now? Are they justified separatists?
We walked right in on Hawaii, or at least sailed in, jailed their queen and simply took over. The people tried their own separatist movement, to no avail.
So what is it we don’t know about eastern Ukraine and Crimea, the people and politics that might justify a separatist movement? And how is it any of our business?