When the original plan for a coastal barrier system was introduced late last year, we suggested that residents go to public hearings and voice their opinions. They did.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers evidently not only heard the people during the hearings, but listened. There were more than 6,000 public comments about the barrier plan it released in November.

Since the hearings, the corps rethought the plan. The corps announced Thursday that it was somewhat altering direction and released a new set of proposals.

While officials had stressed that the initial plan still needed to be developed in detail, it emphasized levees and flood gates to hold back floodwaters. The new plan, which won’t to be released in written form until next year, does away with the levees in favor of building dunes.

The corps plans to publish its new proposals in early 2020 and will have another series of public meetings to gain even more feedback about the barrier, said Kelly Burks-Copes, the project manager for the corps project.

Holding the additional meetings is unusual and perhaps unprecedented. The corps’ normal procedure is to hold one comment period, Burks-Copes said. The public reaction to the initial plan warranted a second set of meetings, she said.

Even after those meetings, though, we suspect there will be people who both oppose or support the new plan. To see the corps taking public opinion into consideration is commendable.

But getting the plan together is not where the real debating and negotiation is likely taking place, getting the funding for the project will be. With an estimated $31 billion price tag, it could be tough.

While we who live on the Texas Gulf Coast can see the need for the barrier, what about other parts of the country that are also targets of Atlantic hurricanes?

Certainly, lawmakers in California, whose residents face yearly threats of wildfires might argue for a piece of the budget pie. States along the Mississippi River, which has its share of flooding, have an agenda for their lawmakers.

The drive for a major storm-surge project in this part of the county was intense after Hurricane Ike and support was deep and wide, but such interest and support can tend to flag as time passes. There’s a real danger of that happening, especially among national leaders with no direct connection to the Texas coast.

So, while it is good the corps is retooling the plan in hopes of giving residents another round of public meetings, it is going to have just as rough a time convincing Congress that the barrier is needed.

• Dave Mathews

Dave Mathews: 409-683-5258; dave.mathews@galvnews.com

(4) comments

Ray Taft

Mathews wrote: “...it is going to have just as rough a time convincing Congress that the barrier is needed.”

That’s a fact because the only thing the Democrats are interested in is getting President Trump. That is their only focus. Democrats have no vision, no time to do anything for Texas, a red state, and nothing to offer.

With 20+ candidates (many from Congress) in the upcoming first Democrat 2020 primary debate, they will not have any time to discuss anything really important to America. They will be consumed with themselves and what is good for themselves as good Democrats. They say the heck with America. They want to make America sucky again.

They will all be pushing hatred for Trump and his followers, the Green New Deal, open trade, higher taxes, socialism, abortion anytime, Democrats using government to illegally spy on Americans they despise being ok, open borders and anything else Trump is for they will automatically be against even if it’s good for America.

Better to wait out the election and ask President Trump, in his second term, for help because he is one of the few in Washington who really wants to help. And hopefully America will wise up and boot out all Democrats from office everywhere across America. Then we can surely Make America Great Again!

Steve Fouga

LOL. You're one angry dude, Ray. Calm down. [cool]

Ray Taft

Anger is the appropriate response to the crooked Democrats. Many many more Americans are angrier than out of touch cooked Democrats & their fake news friends can possibly imagine!

Jim Forsythe

Steve, did you say calm down?
Trump’s anger and its targets are quickly adopted and internalized by large numbers of his followers. What he says, they say. What he believes, they believe.
Some of Trumps targets include, George Soros, Muslims, the media, Hillary Clinton. Obama,Obama Care, Mueller report, Judges, light bulbs and many, many other subjects.
Tariffs, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, are the real issues, and the others are just red meat to stir up the base.

Steve, to many things to hate to calm down!

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