Texans still waiting for Harvey recovery and relief funds

Texans helping Texans

Soldiers with the Texas Army National Guard move through flooded Houston streets as floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey continue to rise, Monday, August 28, 2017.
Credit: U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Zachary West

No one was surprised when Texans lent a hand in recovery efforts following Hurricane Harvey.  We saw neighbors helping neighbors and folks helping strangers.  And those strangers became friends.  We Texans did it because that’s the way we’re wired—we’re community—or at least that’s why we did it after Harvey.  Things weren’t so community-oriented after Superstorm Sandy.  Back then in 2012, Texas Senators Cruz and Cornyn, along with 20 members of the Texas Congressional Delegation, including Rep. Stockman from our TX-36, voted against the $50 billion relief package for those affected by Sandy.

Elected officials need to work for us

Some things don’t seem to change. So far, Texas’ request to the Trump Administration for Harvey relief and recovery have not been met.  Republicans control DC and they still cannot get their act together to help make our communities whole after Hurricane Harvey. 

How can they possibly think that not helping to rebuild our communities is why we elected them?  And they have not even considered investing in the projects that will combat future floods!

Hurricane Harvey’s devastation affected us all. Three months after the storm, we still wait for DC to take action. We need to recover from Harvey and rebuild for the future.

Hurricane Harvey
Credits: NASA/NOAA GOES Project

 

You can make a difference

It is past time that we elect a member to Congress who gets things done and plans for the future.  You can make this a reality, but only if you get involved today.  Please donate to our campaign, talk with your neighbors about our need to do the right things, and make sure you vote.

 

Harvey relief efforts must include local Superfund sites

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 Sun here.

Post-Hurricane Harvey: Rebuilding for the Future

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.

before and after views of Port Aransas
Aransas Pass before and after Hurricane Harvey, August 2017. Credit: NOAA

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.

Air Assault in Houston and Across Texas

President Trump, Congress and the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality are actively working to increase pollution of the air we breathe. In Houston and across Texas we need to protect our children and families from deadly fumes.

Trump and the Republicans in Congress, including Congressional District 36 representative Brian Babin, are axing the EPA’s budget by a third. That means far less enforcement of Clean Air laws, in addition to weakening laws and regulations to clean our air. Likewise, Republican leaders in Texas cut TCEQ’s funds by $6M to cut back enforcement of  environmental projection in our communities.

Air Assault article by Houston Chronicle

Traffic on I-45 in Houston's Central Business District
Photo: Yi-Chin Lee, Houston Chronicle

Whether you live in Houston or in Orange, or other small towns or rural areas, the dirty air will find you as it moves across county lines. Support a solid opponent to Brian Babin. Jon Powell has the technical knowledge and experience to stand up to the weak rationals the GOP uses to break down environmental protections of the air we breathe.