In September of 1786, Confederation Congressman John Jay was to make a treaty presentation to the Congress that would settle navigation claims to the Mississippi river. The treaty was made with Spain and was negotiated with the infamous ambassador Don Diego de Gardoquis.
The deal was sidetracked when young James Monroe of VA intercepted3 what he thought were plans to deny the western part of VA, we know it as Kentucky today, access to the river.
226 years later the fight over who gets final say on Mississippi river navigation continues, only now the controversy arises between Louisiana and the Corps of Engineers.
The most recent mud bath is over an underwater saltwater sill, or dam, the corps wants to build using river silt the state had earmarked for wetlands restoration with the Corps doing what it usually does: bullying any silly states or property owners that get in its way1.
The 1812 LA Constitution, written and ratified at New Orleans Tremoulet House, specified that the State of LA’s borders included all inland waters and “3 leagues in the Gulf [of Mexico]”. Last time I checked a map, the Mississippi river running past St Bernard and Plaquemines parishes was most certainly inside those borders.
So, how did the Corps come to claim our waterway as its own playground? Well, it is an unconstitutional act and state sovereignty breech called the Coastal Zone Management Act2 which is supposed “…to provide a greater understanding of estuaries and how humans impact them… to preserve … and where possible…restore or enhance the resources of the nation's coastal zone.”
But wait! As I pointed out, this part of the Mississippi is part of the nation of Louisiana’s coastal zone, NOT Washington’s. Of course, our infamously corrupt political class of the last 100 years has horse traded the people’s claim in exchange for federal grants and “coastal restoration projects.”
To regain control of our coasts and wetlands we must first reclaim our sovereignty. This will necessitate a nasty divorce from the Corps, but don’t worry about that. The Corps of Engineers office at the foot of River Road is a mere walking distance from the rail line needed to run the agency out of town.
3 See Mike Church’s “The Fame of Our Fathers”