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Slate on Katrina Cough

Their link-rich rundown from 11/15 is here.

Andy Kopplin on Tim Kusky

On Sunday, 60 Minutes broadcast the dire warnings of Prof. Tim Kusky. As described in that post, the Executive Director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, Andy Kopplin, wrote a letter to CBS encouraging balance in their reporting. A copy of that letter is here.

60 Minutes: "New Orleans is Sinking"

On tonight's 60 Minutes, "natural disaster expert" Prof. Tim Kusky of the Earth Sciences Department at St. Louis University will advocate a "gradual pull-out from the city". He says that in 90 years:
"New Orleans is going to be 15 to 18 feet below sea level, sitting off the coast of North America surrounded by a 50 to 100-foot-tall levee system to protect the city... That's the projection, because we are losing land on the Mississippi Delta at a rate of 25 to 30 square miles per year. That's two acres per hour that are sinking below sea level..."
Kathleen Blanco's office wants CBS to hold off on the report:

Andy Kopplin, Blanco's chief for the governor's main panel dealing with the rebuilding effort, the Louisiana Recovery Authority, wrote CBS producers asking the network to reconsider.
"We are very concerned about the preview of your story on New Orleans' future posted on the '60 Minutes' Web site and hope it is not an accurate reflection of your work," Kopplin's letter said...
"We know of many scientists and engineers who have spent considerable parts of their careers becoming experts in addressing coastal land loss in Louisiana and who disagree fundamentally with Prof. Kusky's purported comments," Kopplin wrote.
The letter says, "I cannot request strongly enough that you delay the airing of your story and immediately get in contact with some of these scientists in order to provide your viewers with scientific objectivity as well as balance in your report."

A battle of the academics ensues:

... Kopplin's letter was attached to a letter from Donald Boesch, president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, strongly disputing Kusky's conclusions and raising questions about Kusky's credentials.
"Quick research reveals that Prof. Kusky's expertise is in ophiolites, rock sequences that formed on the oceanic edge of tectonic plates, in the Archean eon about 3 billion years ago," Boesch's letter states.
He criticized some of Kusky's writing as being no better than "an undergraduate paper" that he would give a low grade.

New Orleans now swimming in mold

As buildings are gutted in New Orleans, mold spores are released into the air. Just wearing a mask might not be enough:

"The outdoor mold spore concentrations could easily trigger serious allergic or asthmatic reactions in sensitive people," said Dr. Gina Solomon of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
"The indoor air quality was even worse, rendering the homes we tested dangerously uninhabitable by any definition."
The group tested 14 sites in the New Orleans area for mold spores over a three-day period in mid-October, some six weeks after Hurricane Katrina flooded large parts of the city.
They reported spore counts as high as 645,000 spores per 1 cubic meter (35 cu ft) inside a building in the badly flooded Uptown area, and levels up to 102,000 spores per cubic meter in the air.
Solomon said a normal level would be about 25,000 spores per cubic meter, and the National Allergy Bureau views outdoor mold counts above 50,000 as "very high."

New Orleans battling against mold

From this:

The Longue Vue estate, with its English furnishings, Turkish rugs, blown-glass chandeliers and oil paintings, is on life support. Hundreds of yards of air-duct hoses run through doors and into cellars, trying to save the mansion from Hurricane Katrina's long-lasting remnant: mold.
The storm flooded the flower-studded grounds, swamped the wine cellar and buried the gardener's quarters in muck. Two months after Kartina, workers are at war with creeping moisture, trying to repel stench and rot from the Greek Revival mansion and museum in Old Metairie, a National Historic Landmark.
New Orleans - the perennially flooded city platted amid sea, lake, swamp and river - has always battled mold. But since Katrina inundated 80 percent of the city, moisture's assault has hit an all-time high, and a busy army of "mold remediation" crews have come from around the country to dry homes, businesses, schools and churches.
"We've had floods before," says preservationist Daniel Brown Jr., "but nothing like this where houses sat in water for two, three weeks."

Katrina Cough vs. 9/11 pulmonary disease

The HuffPost is on the case, pointing out the supposed similiarities of the EPA's response to both possible afflictions.
Previously: "Katrina Cough" due to mold, dust

Killer dolphins located in Lake Pontchartrain?

We're informed that Eight dolphins seen in Lake Pontchartrain.
Could these be the killer dolphins? Approach with extreme caution, as they may be loaded.

New Orleans floodwater is not "toxic soup�

From this:

Shortly after Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Louisiana coast, flooding the city of New Orleans, journalists began reporting on a "toxic soup" of chemicals and dangerous microbes bathing the city. Based on no reported data, these stories nevertheless seemed reasonable; the city's sewer system had flooded, and thousands of cars, houses, and chemical storage tanks lay beneath water, which in part of the city reached more than 3 meters in depth. In addition, 24 Superfund sites are in the affected area, and the U.S. EPA and the U.S. Coast Guard have tallied more than 400 oil and hazardous chemical spills.
However, research posted to ES&T's Research ASAP website (es0518631) finds that the water that drowned New Orleans was no more toxic than typical floodwater washing down an urban street after a hard rain. Researchers expressed surprise at the findings but warned that it is still unknown whether the muck left behind is toxic.
"We don't see the very elevated levels of toxics that would make you think of this water as toxic waste," says the study's lead author, John Pardue, director of the Louisiana Water Resources Research Institute at Louisiana State University (LSU). "What was so unique about this event was that we had such a large volume of water and so many people wading around in it for extended periods," he says...

Katrina's damage to LA agriculture tops $3 billion

JACKSON, Miss. Hurricane Katrina's toll on agriculture now tops three (b) billion dollars.
The storm destroyed hundreds of chicken houses and flattened cotton fields in southern Mississippi but did the most damage to the timber industry. Pecan and Christmas tree growers also took a big hit.
Ag losses are estimated at more than two (b) billion dollars in Mississippi and one (b) billion in Louisiana. Alabama was less severely affected and has not yet compiled figures.
One official says Louisiana's damage estimate is expected to grow because early numbers did not include damage to fences, equipment, buildings, pastureland and other infrastructure losses.
More than ten-thousand cattle in Louisiana are dead or missing.

Previously: Katrina's damage to LA agriculture: $1 billion and climbing.

Felled timber worth billions

Believe it or don't: the timber which was felled by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita is worth $900 million in Louisiana and $2.4 billion in Mississippi. Lumber companies are scrambling to pick it up before it all rots.

Industry analysts estimate that more than 20 billion board feet are down, enough to build 1 million houses.


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