The New Orleans Times Picayune posted a story to their web site on July 3, 2007 at 7:45 PM stating that the Corps of Engineers has formally recommended to Congress that the Mississippi River – Gulf Outlet (“MR-GO”) be closed. MR-GO is a 60 mile long shipping channel running from the Louisiana coast to the Industrial Canal in New Orleans. Construction on MR-GO started in 1958 and was completed in 1968. The canal was designed to be 36 feet deep and 500 feet wide.
Continue Reading Corps Recommends Closing MR-GO

Throughout the Corps of Engineers’ history of building public works projects, they have sought to protect or enhance property values and economic interests of various groups. Often fixing one problem causes another. Sometimes those new problems are later referred to as “unintended consequences.”  Many times those supposed “unintended consequences” are known in advance. Nevertheless, these economic shifts often occur without warning or compensation to the people imperiled or damaged. This is the power and burden that goes with building large public works projects. It also presents the legal question of when should a property owner whose interests are imperiled or damaged by public works projects be compensated for such an economic shift.
Continue Reading Corps of Engineers Increases French Quarter Flood Risk

A journal article on the potential for exposure to benzene associated with the use of certain products containing benzene was just published. This article was written by Pamela Williams and others. This researcher was mentioned in an earlier blog entry that I posted concerning trace benzene. This study is not a trace benzene study, but

Corps of Engineers Releases 100 Year Flood Maps for New Orleans Metro Area

On Wednesday June 20, 2007, the Army Corps of Engineers released its long anticipated 100 year flood maps for various parts of the New Orleans metro area. While the maps depict some improvement over the flood risk that existed before Hurricane Katrina,

On May 30, 2007, United States District Judge Stanwood R Duval dismissed a class action lawsuit by residents of South Louisiana claiming damages from Hurricane Katrina. The court ruled that the plaintiffs had failed to exhaust their administrative remedies with the federal government before filing their Federal Tort Claims Act suit. The lawsuit accused the

On Thursday May 31, 2007, U.S. District Judge Kathryn H. Vratil of the Kansas District Court denied the motions to dismiss of PepsiCo Inc. and privately held Sunny Delight Beverages Co. and Rockstar Inc. in litigation related to possible benzene exposure from drinking certain of the defendants’ soft drinks.

The plaintiffs claim that when certain

Any industry manufacturing or even using products with even trace levels of benzene should be aware of the growing trend among trial attorneys to bring benzene exposure claims. It may be nearing the time for companies to undertake aggressive efforts to reduce or eliminate potential exposure to these types of claims
Several recent blogosphere entries

On June 1, 2007, the Louisiana Legislature unanimously passed the state’s first comprehensive master plan for coastal restoration and hurricane protection. In response, the governor has asked the legislature to commit $200 million of the state’s surplus to the coastal fund and allow for the securitization of the tobacco settlement funds, of which 20% is constitutionally dedicated to the coastal fund. The new master plan is entitled, “Integrated Ecosystem Restoration and Hurricane Protection: Louisiana’s Comprehensive Plan for a Sustainable Coast.”
Continue Reading Legislature Adopts Master Plan for Coastal Restoration and Hurricane Protection

The new chief of the Army Corps of Engineers, Lt. General Robert Van Antwerp, told a New Orleans audience on Thursday May 31, 2007 that three important reports would be released by the Corps this summer. The first report due in June is a comprehensive study of the vulnerability of low lying areas of coastal Louisiana to future hurricanes. This report will show residents of the low lying area how their homes will do during about 150 hypothetical storms.
Continue Reading Three Reports Due This Summer From Army Corps of Engineers

During a presentation at the Defense Research Institute’s Toxic Torts and Environmental Law Seminar in New Orleans on Friday March 9, 2007, Dr. Pamela Williams of ChemRisk, Inc. indicated that she was preparing to publish a study on the potential for exposure to benzene from products containing trace (less than 0.1%) levels of benzene. Her study will likely conclude that measured airborne concentrations of benzene during the handling or use of petroleum-derived products in the United States have typically not exceeded workplace standards since at least the early 1980’s. The Williams’ study will also likely conclude that indoor air modeling shows that workplace exposures are likely to be minimal during the application of products containing trace levels of benzene. Finally, the Williams study will likely conclude that petroleum-derived products containing trace levels of benzene are not expected to produce 8-hour TWA airborne concentrations that exceed current regulatory standards under typical product use scenarios.
Continue Reading New Trace Benzene Study To Be Published