Houston’s Superfund sites flooded during Hurricane Harvey
Hurricane Harvey flooded tens of thousands of homes–and many Superfund waste sites. Houston’s polluted Superfund sites threatened to contaminate floodwaters (Washington Post, August 29).
Flooded Superfund sites like the San Jacinto Waste Pits spread their pollution onto nearby properties, into the river and the bay. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was not on scene, according to the Associated Press on September 2. The EPA indicated on September 4 that 13 Superfund sites were flooded during Hurricane Harvey (NPR article).
Poisons emitted by industry to our air, water, and soil that can be controlled in normal conditions but have been made exponentially worse by natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey where they cause harm to our families, reduce our property values, and make us all less healthy and prosperous.
Lawmakers must act now to protect people and clean up vulnerable waste sites.
Congress and our state lawmakers must act now to make protection of the people and cleanup of these vulnerable sites a priority. We must demand that disaster recovery funds be allocated to begin this process immediately. Our lawmakers know that even after a site is designated a Superfund site, cleanup can take decades.
Read my full Op Ed article in the Baytown Sunhere.
The Texas Tribune published my op ed piece on September 7 on how to move forward after Hurricane Harvey, and how to prepare for the next big storm.
Invest in real solutions to real problems
How do we rebuild? How do we prepare for the future? To live in the place we all love, we must be willing to invest in solutions to the problems we know exist; we must ensure that Harvey relief makes us whole and gives us the resources to make the Texas Gulf Coast ready for the next hurricane.
A basic function of government is to protect us. Ask yourself if laws and regulations that were in place before Harvey struck made the situation better or worse. Who advocated for those bad policies? Was it the people who have a financial incentive to not spend the necessary funds for protection and their bought-and-paid-for lawmakers? How do we change the debate so we are talking about real solutions to real problems?
Our leaders must work for us
With floodwaters still flowing in parts of Texas, and Hurricane Irma eyeing the U.S. mainland, the current political talk is about tax cuts for the wealthy or the residency status of nearly 800,000 children and young adults. These are not the priorities of folks who lost everything in Winnie, Port Aransas, Orange, Beaumont, and Houston—and many cities in between.
Our leaders must work for us, not for folks who want to avoid paying to do the right thing.
Texas’ 36th District faces unique problems
Our District is unique because of the major concentration of refineries and petrochemical plants, and shipping lanes, along the Texas Gulf Coast. The effects of Hurricane Harvey reached well beyond the Texas borders, impacting 40 percent of the U.S. petrochemicals market (See CNBC, Harvey threatens to choke off supply of critical chemicals , plastics to U.S. manufacturers). Our District is concerned with the effects of storm surge. And southeast Texas has several protected wildlife areas.
I am a geologist by training, an environmental and risk assessment consultant by trade, so I know the unique problems we face as we work to recover. We need to make sure that DC gives us what we need to rebuild, and does it in a way that helps protect from future storms.
There was a point over this last week when I was speechless: the rain, the damage, the rescues, the deaths in Houston, Port Arthur, Orange and Beaumont, not to mention the chemical plant explosion in Crosby.
If you got emotional, I understand. I did too.
The impact of Harvey forces us to think about how we rebuild better, stronger, and smarter.
Cities large and small require assistance—quickly—to meet basic needs
The President will be in Houston on Saturday and I expect him to show empathy for Texans and give us a concrete timetable for when resources from DC will start to arrive. We need billions of dollars to rebuild our communities—and not just the big cities. There are portions of our area that still don’t have the basics of living—clean water and sewage systems and communications systems, for example, more than 12 years after Hurricane Rita.
It is time to hold our elected representatives accountable
We want a swift and substantial Hurricane Harvey recovery bill passed immediately; it should be the first thing Congress does when it reconvenes in September. Anything else will be an insult to everything we have dealt with over the past week, and the weeks and months to come. We need to mitigate loss, and we need to rebuild with an emphasis on the future.
Rebuild to protect our communities and our economy
I am an environmental consultant by trade; a scientist by training. There are things we can do in the rebuilding that will protect our communities, help us meet the challenges of the 21st century, and put people to work. That’s what I will do when I represent you in Congress.
Thinking of all those whose lives have been turned upside down by Harvey.
My name is Jon Powell, and I am a candidate for U.S. Congress in the 36th district here in southeast Texas.
A little about me
I am a husband and father, a scientist and a geologist. I have my own environmental and management consulting business and I have worked with companies here and across the globe.
We moved to Taylor Lake Village in 1988 when Cindy Evans, my wife, got a job at NASA. We spawned two native Texan sons, now grown up and on their own. We raised them surrounded by the friendship of our community. Each of or family members is committed to public service and giving back to others in our community. I have served as City Councilman and Mayor of Taylor Lake Village. Cindy has been on the police commission. Our boys have volunteered and worked to serve the public since they were little kids.
2018 is a pivotal election for this district and our country
We need to get the government back on track where it was intended—to serve the good of the people and provide opportunity for all. This will take new leadership—here and in congressional races across the country—so we can put the country back on the path of investing in America so we can make a brighter future—for our kids and grandkids.
Put real voices in Congress
I’m running for Congress to help put real voices in Congress so we can implement policies that help us build an economy that works for everyone—for people living in the more populated areas along the coast to those in the rural areas in the piney forests of East Texas.
We need someone to build a positive and practical agenda that will help lift us up. I am the person to do this.
Jon Powell meets with 14 organizations in the Houston Bay Area to pull together new progressive organizations with more traditional Democratic clubs to prepare for the upcoming elections. BAAD Women (Bay Area Association of Democratic Women) sponsored this important meeting.
On June 7, NASA introduced its new astronaut candidates at Johnson Space Center in Houston. The astronaut candidates joined Vice President Mike Pence, acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot, Johnson Center Director Ellen Ochoa, and Flight Operations Director Brian Kelly on stage at the event. NASA chose 12 women and men from over 18,000 applicants.
In his address, Pence said,“These are 12 men and women whose personal excellence and whose personal courage will carry our nation to even greater heights of discovery and who I know will inspire our children and our grandchildren every bit as much as your forebears have done so in this storied American program,” said Vice President Pence. “And to this newest class of astronauts, it’s my honor to bring the sincere congratulations of the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. Your President is proud of you, and so am I.”
“We need a representative who actually works for the people.”
With that observation, Jon Powell, former Mayor of Taylor Lake Village, announces his run for U.S. Congress to represent all of Congressional District 36 of Texas.
Jon, a geologist and small business owner, has a long career working with energy and chemical companies to improve their environmental and safety performance.
People tell Jon that the residents of Texas’ 36th Congressional District and the country need a representative who uses facts and reason to direct America’s resources and programs to benefit everyone. Jon will be that representative.
“My past public service and solid professional technical experience are proof that I’ll hit the ground running for voters across Southeast Texas, from our small towns all the way to Houston,” Jon stated.