Collapsed seawalls, angry property owners, water intakes dangerously close to being useless, exposed training walls, boats laid on their sides resting on mud flats that used to be a River that supports hundreds of millions of dollars in recent investment.
Well the Corps of Engineers wants a “do-over.”
And they actually want locals to ask for it.
But here’s the kicker. US Senator David Perdue is apparently pushing Augusta Commissioners to ask the Corps to do it.
And Insiders indicate that, with assists from Augusta Chamber of Commerce CEO Sue Parr and Augusta Commissioner Sammie Sias, Purdue is having some success.
The Augusta Commission is set for a legal session at the Marble Palace tomorrow and Insiders indicate this new drawdown will be a topic for discussion. These legal sessions are closed door affairs with no public voice or public accountability.
These are the same folks that spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on the idea that whitewater would save us from all this. What could go wrong?
But the Corps says it’s not a do-over at all; they say they have a new plan they think we will like and they want to show us. If you believe that we’ve got some riverfront property in North Augusta we’d like to show you.
Really their new plan is just the same plan as the one on display during the drawdown. It removes the Lock and Dam and replaces it with a pile of rocks. The only difference is this new pile of rocks would hold the water level a few inches higher than the drawdown showed.
Seems like Augusta Commissioners could just use their imaginations, imagine a slightly less disastrous pool of water and save time and a heap of taxpayer money.
This would be a far wiser plan than asking the Corps if it will give itself a second chance to tweak God knows what parameters or assumptions or whatever and jigger with some dam gates here and there and voila “Look Augusta and North Augusta the pool is a few inches higher!”
No one with any sense at this point believes anything the Corps says or does, so regardless of whatever a new drawdown shows, no one will believe it.
Nor should they believe them based on the shellacking they took at the hands of the Independent Experts recently hired to review the Corps’ plans.
The Corps has repeatedly misled Augusta and proven they will do anything and everything in their power to get what they want at Augusta’s expense.
They have a handful of excuses for what went wrong during the first drawdown, but at this point the Corps has proven they can’t be trusted to communicate honestly or engineer accurately.
One thing a new draw down would show, however, would be that Augusta is open to this new ever-so-slightly higher pile of rocks.
Insiders believe this is what the Corps and Perdue are really after.
Purdue got this rock weir law passed in 2016 and he’s apparently desperate to get out from under it before election season gets into full swing.
If Augusta could just be convinced to accept this pile of rocks all would be well and he could campaign on the success of the harbor dredging rather than hiding from the topic.
But what on earth would convince our local government to send that type of message right now given the hard-fought recent momentum from the Expert Report, the recent release of a new plan suggested by Independent Experts, the law that was recently passed in South Carolina and news of numerous lawsuits being planned in South Carolina and elsewhere?
Maybe these folks have been losing so long they just can’t tell when they’re winning anymore?
Augusta is on the record demanding the pool level be maintained at 114.5 feet.
So why would Augusta submit to demands from D.C. or anywhere else to lower the pool?
And why would Augusta ever agree to anything other than a natural disaster or an Act of God lowering the pool even temporarily?
And will Augusta be liable for any damages caused by Senator Purdue’s new draw down?
Regardless, the Expert Report says what Insiders have said all along: the Corps is twisting the science to fit their ends. A new draw down would be no exception. It would prove nothing except that Augusta is willing to get what they get and not pitch a fit.
Asking for this new drawdown would only signal local weakness. But what else would you expect from Commissioner Sammie Sias right now?
Insiders indicate that, at least on this issue, he’s Senator Purdue’s man in Augusta right now. Enjoy that while it lasts, Senator Perdue.
And good luck with it.