City 1, Corps 0 In Fight to Fix Trinity Levees
|From Monday's briefing docs prepared for the council's Trinity River Corridor Project Committee|
What accounts for that new number? Says Monday's Trinity River Corridor Project Committee briefing, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is no longer concerned about those pesky worse-case scenarios outlined in briefings after briefing since the levees were deemed unacceptable in February 2009. Instead, it'll just deal with what the Corps and city officials refer to as "'most likely' conditions." It's part of the Corps' new "Risk Assessment Philosophy": Where once the Corps said "conservatism is encouraged due to uncertainties," now it believes in "conservatism based on 'most likely' scenarios."
Says the briefing that was posted last night, it's all about cutting costs and trimming time and giving into cities, like Dallas, that have complained the Corps' post-Katrina standards were too high a hurdle to clear. "This Risk Assessment process represents a new approach for the Corps in identifying flood risks and solutions, and will impact Corps policies and procedures in the future," says the briefing. "The methodology is still being developed and changes may occur along the way. Corps is choosing to advance the process on Dallas Floodway due to its high national priority."
Long story short: The city can cut back on levee fixes, so long as its sump pumps work and it has an evacuation plan on hand. Something involving solar-powered water taxis, pool noodles and prayer.
Schutze says this is big news -- national news, even, or at least enough to get him to City Hall for Monday's 3 p.m. meeting. He'll be easy to spot: Jim will be the one wearing rubbers.