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Underwritten by the Corps of Engineers

From an email:

Power-point presentations hosted by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in 2007 were federally funded affairs crafted to mislead the engineering community and the American public on the US Army Corps of Engineers' role in the flooding of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina says a local civic group.

Records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act requested by Levees.Org, a New Orleans non-profit reveal that as early October 2005, the US Army Corps of Engineers directed the ASCE and later paid the group more than $1.1 million for their peer review and for giving the seminars which contained at least 10 apparent falsehoods, 4 significant omissions and numerous misrepresentations.

Members of the ASCE are forbidden from making false or exaggerated statements and also from making statements for an interested party unless this is disclosed. Nowhere in the power points is it stated that the talks are underwritten by the Corps of Engineers.

"Among the falsehoods is the statement that "no one was in charge" when in fact the Corps is the controlling entity in the design, construction and performance of New Orleans' flood protection," says Sandy Rosenthal, Founder of Levees.Org. "We find these activities were damage control to protect the corps and to shift blame for the flooding onto the local citizens."

Between February and October 2007, ASCE staffers and members presented and narrated at least 30 power point talks at engineering colleges, universities, and conferences both nationwide and abroad.

HJ Bosworth Jr, civil engineer and research director for Levees.Org points out that anyone unfamiliar with the New Orleans flooding would conclude after viewing the Corps-funded presentation that the federal agency had done its best but was hamstrung by locals interests.

The ASCE has also recently been the target of other criticisms alleging corruption. In November 2007, ASCE President David Mongan acknowledged that an internal ethics probe was looking into charges of collusion between the Corps and ASCE during the official New Orleans levee investigation. Weeks later, ASCE officials also announced creating an independent task force to review the way ASCE participates in national disaster investigations including the 9-11 investigation. Retired US Congressman Sherwood Boehlert R-NY is heading that panel and the results are expected in late April.

Levees.Org believes these revelations have tainted the official federal levee study which depended on uncorrupted peer review by ASCE as proof of the evaulations engineering quality and independence. The group is pushing for the 8/29 Investigation Act, an independent complete analysis of the flood protection failures in metro New Orleans. The study, backed by Senator Mary Landrieu D-LA would cost about $5 million and take about one year to complete.

March 26, 2008 in Nola Stuff | Permalink


I’m going around to all the NOLA area bloggers/freelancers to let them know about our new book by a local author, the Historic Photos of New Orleans by Melissa Lee Smith. We’d love to send you a complimentary copy for possible review consideration on your blog of this book. This title is done in a large 10x10 format and all images used are culled from several archives that represent rare or never before seen photos of the Crescent City. We’re trying to get the word out to local folks, so I hope you don’t mind me dropping you a line to let you know about our books!

You can find the author locally on a panel at the French Quarter Fest on April 12th and at Jazz Fest on May 2nd from 2-3pm in the Jazz Fest Book Tent.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Rachel Joiner
Marketing Manager

Posted by: Rachel J | Mar 26, 2008 2:35:32 PM

Yes you forkin'rock Meester Haney.
And dat'goes fo'yer little dog too!
Please check out today's Ladder.
We all over dishit beeleeve it ya'hoeard me?

Thanks for keeping the lights on, Noble Mon.
Editilla d'Aphasia
NO News Ladder

Posted by: New Orleans News Ladder | Mar 26, 2008 9:20:27 PM

What: Press Conference
Army Corps funded spin campaign on New Orleans flooding, Levees.org group says; Records show Corps paid ASCE to give talks

When: Thursday March 27, 11:30am

Where: 6910 Mayo Blvd., New Orleans, LA
(Take Morrison Road Exit, take immediate right onto Frontage Road. Continue to Mayo, first house on left.)

Contact: Sandy Rosenthal, 504-722-8172

Posted by: New Orleans News Ladder | Mar 27, 2008 4:50:44 AM

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