Thursday, October 06, 2005

Advice for New Orleans residents - don't move back

I wouldn't. At least not for now. The reason is that I worry that environmental concerns are not being properly addressed. Despite the EPA's reassurance that it is safe to return I harbor misgivings. For one, I have not forgotten the EPA also telling the residents of New York it was safe to return after 9/11 and the people who claim to have gotten sick despite the EPA's go-ahead. Secondly, there are those that warn that the EPA is not taking the steps necessary to protect returning citizens. And lastly, even if the EPA and clean-up crews were doing a fantastic and remarkable job of cleaning New Orleans I just can't see how the area could be made livable in such a short time. Consider the oil leaks - "Katrina caused at least 40 oil spills from Gulf Coast refineries and storage tanks, dumping more than 8 million gallons of crude into southern Louisiana towns, wetlands and shorelines." - and then recall that people are still scrubbing oil in the Prince William Sound as a result of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. Additionally, New Orleans was home to three superfund sites which are another source of potential toxic contamination. These sorts of spills and leakages generally have long lasting environmental consequences; given this administration's record of downplaying environmental degredation and the lack of seriuos media attention to this issue I do not think I would be able to return confident of my health safety.

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