Thursday, June 19, 2008

Landslide Hazard Mapping Money Cut in Senate Budget

The state program to map landslide hazard areas in the NC mountains is zeroed out in the proposed NC state Senate budget.

Not soon enough, however, to prevent homeowners in two counties -- Franklin and Watauga -- from knowing whether their new McMansions are planted in previous debris flows or on slopes that have been geologically judged as wanting, that is, highly susceptible to sudden and catastrophic land movement.

The maps of landslide hazards in Franklin and Watauga counties, completed under a state program that the Raleigh Senate now wants to kill dead dead DEAD, was greeted locally with the kind of cheer one might associate with being told you've got an untreatable boil on your gluteus maximus. No one, apparently, wants the information. No one wants to be told that he can't trust the ground on which he wants to pile expensive new infrastructure.

It was, of course, the Democratic grandees of the Senate that xed out the money.

The NC House budget maintains the funds for that mapping program. We'll see how the negotiations between House and Senate budget-writers go.

The unwillingness of NC Senators to ruffle the feathers of real estate and building interests by actually scientifically predicting where people and property could likely come to ruin on our steep mountain slopes is very akin to those now pounding the table for oil drilling off our coasts and in the Arctic Wilderness. "We want candy! We want candy now! No one can tell us that CANDY NOW is not good!"

The next hurricane event in these mountains -- and there will be one -- that buries homes and people's lives will lead to recriminations against government. Elected officials will be called to account for (a) refusing to identify the danger or (b) refusing to act on the information once the danger was mapped.

Our NC senatorial budget dictators obviously plan to out-live the catastrophe, just as the oil-suckers plan to out-live the consequences of their addiction.

The love of money is the root of all evil.

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