Sunday, September 11, 2005

environmental remediation

new orleans destined to become our nation's largest parking lot? in these parts brownfields are generally capped with parking lots or other impermeable surface to prevent stormwater from carrying pollutants to other sites. in some cases wealthy private developers will pay the cost of environmental remediation, which often includes covering the cost of stripping topsoil and engineering elaborate systems of stormwater management that keep polluted runoff out of the sewer system (lest pollutants accumulate in underground pipes and toxicity levels gradually increase over time).

how will anybody living in new orleans ever be able to grow vegetables in their gardens with all the toxins soaked into the soil? do people in a devastated city have a right to have that city back? on the federal taxpayer dime? in a part of the country prone to such weather patterns? on a patch of land no less vulnerable? it seems somehow quixotic to me all the money spent draining the city as fast as possbile, all these people standing around in temporary shelters as if they'll ever get to go back home. we need a resettlement program, and if the president keeps talking about rebuilding, the cost of the spending package could be valued in lives lost to preventable deaths due to poverty, inner city violence, cost of healthcare, or unsafe highways across the country.

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