"COLUMBIA, La. – The Army Corps of Engineers is on a mission to chop down every tree in the country that grows within 15 feet of a levee — including oaks and sycamores in Louisiana, willows in Oklahoma and cottonwoods in California.
The corps is concerned that the trees' roots could undermine barriers meant to protect low-lying communities from catastrophic floods like the ones caused by Hurricane Katrina.
An Associated Press survey of levee projects nationwide shows that the agency wants to eliminate all trees along more than 100,000 miles of levees. But environmentalists and some civil engineers insist the trees pose little or no risk and actually help stabilize levee soil."