Asbestos, like DDT, gets a bad rap in the popular media, but nothing else comes close as a shield against heat. The original plans for the World Trade Center called for the interior steel in both towers to be covered with asbestos-based fireproofing material. Asbestos was eliminated when environmentalists objected. Engineers think the twin towers might be standing today but for the politically correct construction. Asbestos would have at least slowed the spread of the fire and the melting of the metal, giving hundreds of those who perished a chance to escape.
Hurricane Katrina need not have been the tragedy it was. In 1977, the Army Corps of Engineers wanted to build large steel and concrete "sea gates" below sea level to prevent hurricane force winds driving storm surges into Lake Pontchartrain, overflowing into low-lying New Orleans. Such gates have been enormously successful in the Netherlands. But the Environmental Defense Fund, which had been a party to the lawsuit leading to the banning of DDT, persuaded a judge that the sea gates would discourage the mating of a certain fish species. Fishy romance trumped the lives of 3,100 Orleanians. "If we had built the barriers, New Orleans would not be flooded," says Joe Towers, who was counsel for the New Orleans District of the Corps.
John Berlau spreads blame at all levels of state and national government where intimidated politicians glibly hide behind "greening of America" soft-headedness. Not all ecophiles are goofballs, but many show considerably less concern for humans than for the kangaroo rat, the Delhi Sands flower-loving fly, and that little darling the snail darter. Radical environmentalism is often hazardous to your health. That's the inconvenient truth Al Gore ignores.