Army Corps top brass now involved in Levees.org’s quest to list breach sites historic

Jo-Ellen Darcy, Asst Secretary of the Army Civil Works

Ms. Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) has responded in partial fulfillment of a federal requirement to Levees.org’s nomination of two levee breach sites to the National Register of Historic Places.

In August 2010, Levees.org first nominated the sites of two major levee breaches during the 2005 storm to the prestigious register including the breach of 17th Street Canal and the east side north breach of the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal, both in New Orleans. The latter breach site is owned and administered by the Corps of Engineers, which requires the state office seek the comments of this federal agency prior to submission.

Normally, the Corps’ Federal Preservation Officer responds to requests for comments on National Register nominations. But there appears to be intense interest shown by the Corps as demonstrated by an Assistant Secretary of the Army being the signatory of this letter.

The letter states that due to the length and complexity of the NRHP nomination, the Army Corps of Engineers will assemble a team of “historic preservation specialists” to fully evaluate this nomination. The team will be headed by Dr. Paul D. Rubenstein, the Corps Deputy FPO.

By federal regulation, the Corps’ FPO has sixty days to respond to Levees.org’s submission. While that deadline expired on March 13th, Ms. Darcy has pledged to consider the Corps team’s recommendations and reply by March 30.

Staffers with the Louisiana State Office of Historic Preservation have indicated they are “comfortable” with the Corps of Engineers taking an extra two weeks to respond. Furthermore, though Ms. Darcy’s letter is dated February 2, 2012, the same staffers say they did not receive it until March 15th.

For Associated Press story, click here.

Link to letter:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/85597098/Letter-from-Jo-Ellen-Darcy-to-Pam-Breaux

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