The Army Corps of Engineers held a community meeting at MLK School in the Lower 9th Ward last night to present their GRR/SEIS report on the Replacement of the Lock at the Inner Harbor Navigational Canal (IHNC). More than 200 residents from both sides of the Canal attended the meeting. Not one person spoke in favor of the Corps' proposed project.
Find the Website for the proposed project here:
Eleven Lower 9th Ward community organizations partnered to submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Corps at last night's meeting. The FOIA requests the Army Corps' to release documentation of their methodology and all correspondences during the last 6 months regarding transit/wait times for vessels/barges in the Industrial Canal.
The Corps' argues in their proposed and highly controversial Lock Replacement Project that vessels have to wait as long as 48 hours to pass through the existing lock, necessitating a new lock. But they give no proof for their claims. So we filed a FOIA request for documents regarding transit times so they may undergo independent and public review.
We read sections of the request into the public record during the meeting with the Corps, and we hand delivered two hard copies of the FOIA request to Corps officials. We followed up earlier today and emailed the Corps (as well as members of the media) an electronic copy of the request.
Find the FOIA request here.
We also emailed all our city, state and federal elected officials and requested that they encourage the Corps to:
Expedite the processing of the FOIA request, as the proposed project can reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to life and physical safety;
Waive all fees, as the disclosure of the requested information is in the public best interest; and
Extend the official public comment period beyond the current March 14 deadline. We have requested that the deadline be postponed for a minimum of 30 days after the receipt of the requested FOIA documents to allow time for independent and public review and to ensure these reviews are included in the official record.