Hurricane Harvey’s impact forces us to think about how we rebuild better, stronger, and smarter

Hurricane Harvey
Hurricane Harvey, 25 August 2017, Credit: NASA

Hurricane Harvey’s devastation left me speechless

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.

I had an important letter to the editor published in the Orange Leader before the storm.  Check it out if you have a moment.

“Ike Dike” would protect Texas Coast, Communities, Lives and Economy

The predicted approach of Tropical Storm Harvey reminds us on the Gulf Coast that it’s not if, it’s when a hurricane will hit.  Our region is hit by a major hurricane about every 15 years. Many of us have lived through and recovered from Alicia, Allison, Rita, Katrina, and Ike.  Hurricane Ike alone caused $30 billion in damage and killed more than 100 people.

Engineers at Texas A&M and Rice University have designed storm surge protection that would protect the southeast Texas coast from damage and loss of life.  The proposed cost is $12 billion – a bargain compared to the cost a Katrina-like hurricane would result in: losses to the Texas economy of $73 billion in gross product and 863,000 jobs.

Construction of the “Ike Dike” would bring good-paying jobs to the area, and a sense of pride that we are working to protect our community.

As we prepare for a potential hit from Harvey, I urge you to contact your representatives and tell them that it’s time to protect the Texas coast, our community, our lives, and the economy from these predictable natural disasters.

Let’s hope that Harvey is a non-event.

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