Corps needs 10 Square miles, 20 ft deep, of clay for Levees
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
By Sheila Grissett
St. Bernard residents who fear that their property will be cannibalized to help feed a voracious demand for levee-building clay were assured by Army Corps of Engineers leaders Monday that they are searching for alternatives to riddling the parish with large new pits.
Current estimates are that 100 million cubic yards of additional borrow will be needed for the next round of improvements to southeast Louisiana's hurricane protection system, said Col. Al Lee, commander of the corps' New Orleans district.
"That's over 20 Superdomes full of borrow material," Lee told a crowd that jammed a public hearing at the corps headquarters in New Orleans.
Louis Pomes calls himself St. Bernard Parish's last
cattleman, an endangered species that could be driven to
extinction by the federal government's hunt for more
than 100 million cubic yards of clay to build bigger, better
regional levees and floodwalls.
"I'm the only one left down here, and if I was
an eagle, the government would build fences around me and
protect me," said Pomes, who runs cattle on pasture
that the Army Corps of Engineers wants to test for clay
deposits. "Instead, they want to wipe me out."
Corps officials are trying to identify 145 million cubic
yards of high-quality clay, which has soared in price and
demand since Katrina, to remediate much of the region's
storm-wrecked hurricane protection system.