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FOX News Tries To Blame Environmentalists For New Orleans Floods

Reported by Ellen - September 14, 2005

Is there anyone besides the federal government that FOX News is not looking to blame for Hurricane Katrina? Maybe God. Everyone and everything else seems to be fair game. You could almost hear the glee coming from the FOX News producers as William La Jeunesse reported on the latest scapegoat for the destruction - the environmentalists. Unfortunately, a savvy environmentalist guest spoiled the plan.

La Jeunesse started the segment with a report that "some experts" said the floodng could have been avoided if environmentalists had not "interfered" in a project to build floodgates at the mouth of Lake Pontchartrain 25 years ago. Apparently, an environmental group sued to prevent the Army Corps of Engineers from going ahead with it.

Lajeunesse ended his report with this "fair and balanced conclusion: "And consider the cost. Reconstructing the Crescent City, about a hundred billion dollars. When proposed, the flood control project would have cost one-tenth as much."

A happy surprise was guest Valsin A. Marmillion, spokesperson for America's Wetlands, which was not the group who sued to stop the floodgate project. Hannity tried to get Marmillion to admit that the project would have prevented the flood but Marmillion, who remained calm and congenial, told him there was no way to know. Then, much to Hannity's chagrin, I'm sure, Marmillion added, "What I can say is that if the wetlands had not been disappearing at a rate that they have been, a football field every half-hour, it would be a different story." He explained that it's not an either/or proposition but that both have to be done. He said flood control and saving the wetlands "have to go in tandem."

Thwarted in his effort to blame the flood on environmentalists, Hannity attacked "environmental extremism" for being "the reason we can't drill anywhere, we can't do any coal mining, we haven't built any refineries, we don't support nuclear power" and for "greatly impacting American lives."

Marmillion answered pleasantly, "That's not the story tonight. The story tonight is more complex and I'm glad you raised what you did." He said that the issue has about 10 or 15 solutions "and what we need to do is marry the wetlands protection with flood protection in a comprehensive plan." He said the state has been working on it for 10 years and "we've been trying to get the attention..." He never said whose attention but it sounded a lot like he meant the federal government. He said that five days before the hurricane, the governor of Louisiana had asked the citizens to "start writing people" and tell them what a serious situation it was.

You go, Mr. Marmillion! Hannity didn't even have a chance to mention the mayor and the buses.

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