Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Studying Tangier Island to Death

On the Chesapeake Bay, Tangier Island Is Drowning In Red Tape
. . .Tangier Mayor James Ooker Eskridge has been giving tours and talking with the media for years. But today he has the eyes and ears of Norfolk Army Corps of Engineers newest district commander, Colonel Jason Kelly.”

“Has that been the plan, I mean really just retreat is that the way over the years you handle the erosion. Just relocate?”

“Yup. Yeah, there used to be a community up here and I don't know how many families that lived up here and they had a schoolhouse up there. The other community out here and they're all under water now.”

Later, at Tangier's school auditorium, nearly half the town came to hear news of the jetty and breakwaters. Three years ago Gov. Bob McDonnell was here to celebrate funding for the jetty project. What islanders misunderstood was the money was for a study. Today, the Corps was announcing the study was nearly complete. The jetty won't be built for another two years. Tangier school teacher Duane Crockett expressed the town's frustration.

“What is there left to study, we are washing away. I've contacted every state official. Every national official that I know to get in contact with concerning this.” . . .
Mankind has been building jetties to hold back the sea for millennia. The Romans and Carthaginians were well known for it. The amount of study required for such a structure should be minimal by now.

But money spent on studies goes to well connected constituencies; the Army Corp, the engineering firms, the environmental effects groups in industry and academe. Money for building jetties just goes for rocks and constructions companies, and the burly men who drive the barges and operate the heavy equipment. And they mostly vote the wrong way.

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