Rod Dreher

So says columnist James Gill in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, citing the way the state has been governed for years not with the public’s interest in mind, but with the interests of the oil companies. Excerpt:

We have so much to be sick about that it would be a shame to invite ridicule by harping on the country’s indifference to the loss of wetlands that sustain our fisheries and protect us from hurricanes. Louisiana was hardly a helpless victim as the oil and gas companies sliced up and contaminated the landscape to keep an ungrateful nation moving. We took the money and turned a blind eye.
Certainly, Louisiana deserves compensation after suffering so much environmental damage for the national benefit. But shaking loose enough federal money to repair the damage has always been a hard slog; distant taxpayers have trouble accepting that justice and the national economic interest require major investment in Louisiana’s coastal zone.
They might have less trouble accepting the littoral truth if Louisiana had shown a greater attachment to the wetlands it wants the rest of the country to help preserve. It is laughable to wring our hands because nobody cares about the wetlands when we have been complicit in their destruction from the beginning.
Perhaps people will start paying attention now that the wetlands are threatened by a disaster for which the state bears no responsibility; the offending BP well is 50 miles offshore. But let us hope nobody notices that, right up to the minute the BP well blew, Louisiana regulators were continuing to connive at, if not actually encourage, the spoliation of the marshes.

The New Orleans friend who passed that column along to me says, “This is the truth from down here, the way that I see it.” She added that her husband is so depressed over what’s happening that he’s taken to wearing mourning black.

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