Corps rebuilding floodwall weaker than pre-Katrina
Harry Shearer points to some disquieting news out of New Orleans: According to the Times Picayune, The Army Corps of Engineers is restoring the 17th Street Canal floodwall with steel pilings 13 feet shorter than the originals.
Read the whole Picayune article, it's some great science journalism.
The Corps insists that the shorter pilings pose no threat to the public because concurrent adjustments are being made elsewhere in the system to keep the water level from rising as high as it did in 2005.
However, professor Bob Bea of UC Berkeley, the marine engineer who lead the NSF's post-Katrina flooding investigation, remains skeptical. He worries that the shorter pilings could be the "fatal flaw" that dooms the flood control system. (Bea was interviewed extensively for Spike Lee's 2006 documentary When the Levees Broke.)
Bea and other experts are calling on the Corps to submit to more outside scrutiny and independent review of their flood-control strategy.