Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Senate and Environmental Public Works Committee is calling on the Justice Department to investigate what role environmental groups played in the flooding of New Orleans. The Center for American Progress reports the Justice Department sent an e-mail to various U.S. Attorneys offices reading,"Has your district defended any cases on behalf of the (U.S.) Army Corps of Engineers against claims brought by environmental groups seeking to block or otherwise impede the Corps work on the levees protecting New Orleans?”
One item I would like to see Sen. Inhofe explore deals with the judge that made a ruling against the Army Corps of Engineers in 1977 for an environmental group called Save Our Wetlands (SOWL) over the Lake Pontchartrain Hurricane Protection project, which I wrote about here.
One interesting point, which I found in writing that piece was that District Judge Charles Schwartz actually ORDERED the environmental group, Save Our Wetlands (SOWL) to file suit against the Army Corps after receiving frantic phone calls from them. SOWL, eager to preserve “natural river flow” was upset the Army Corps had begun dredging for the protection project. Not surprisingly, after ordering SOWL to file suit, Schwartz ruled in SOWL’s favor.
This piece of information was found on the groups own website, buried in their self-written history of judicial activism against levee projects in the area. You can read SOWL’s history here.
Another interesting note is that former State Representative Edward Booker enrolled as co-counsel for the case often working “18-20 hour shifts” and lending his administrative assistant Doug Clifford for SOWL’s use.