Big, honking white lies

Want to know the truth about the Trinity River project? Don't ask city staff. They fib.

Jim Blackburn, a Houston environmental lawyer representing the critics, says the truthful answer to Greyson's question could never have been in any doubt.

"In fact, there are two variances really to be obtained," he says, pointing out that the Corps and the city will have to get a variance from the Corps' own "Record of Decision" in 1987 and then obtain a separate variance from the CDC process. Both things--the Record of Decision and the CDC process--reflect the same central finding in the late 1980s: Real estate development and land-use decisions made during the boom years of the late '70s and early '80s are the reasons Dallas has flooding problems now.

That only makes the Trinity River Plan more remarkable. The Corps admits the project will reduce the water storage capacity along the river and says the reason it's worth allowing that to happen is that the plan will encourage more real estate development in the floodplain.

"The communities upstream from Dallas should be very concerned about this," Blackburn said.

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