10/07/16 10:30am

WAIT, DID THE 2008 RECESSION UP THE CHANCES OF A FUTURE HOUSTON CHEMICAL CATASTROPHE? Predicted Before and After Flood Map, 500 Year Flood EventRoy Scranton imagines “a wave of water sweeping toxic waste into playgrounds, shops and houses” in Magnolia Park in his op-ed this morning, written after touring the Ship Channel and speaking with the local A&M and Rice research teams pushing for variations on a series of region-scale coastal barriers to hunker down behind whenever the next gigantic hurricane hits the Houston region, in hopes of avoiding deadly flooding and catastrophic chemical spills. But the researchers tell Scranton that pushing for federal and state funding for a response is a slow endeavor; Jim Blackburn (a main player on the Rice team) tells Scranton that he’s “heard more than one person say our plan is to wait until the next hurricane comes, then depend on guilt money from Washington to fix the problem.” Scranton writes that the best chance for that guilt money so far might have been in 2008, when Hurricane Ike landed just 30 miles northeast of the zone that modelers say could have caused thousands of deaths and irreparable ecological devastation to the area, on September 13th — 2 days before the Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, pulling global attention and national funds to other issues as markets began to crash. [NY Times; previously on Swamplot] Model maps of potential storm surge flooding along the ship channel, with chemical storage marked in red: Texas Tribune

06/01/10 10:35am

KING READY TO LAUNCH 700-YEAR WAR Will the new Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District be leading the battle to build a 60-mile-long “Ike Dike” to gate off Galveston Bay from hurricane storm surges? “I think there’s a growing consensus that something’s got to be done,” board member and former Kemah mayor Bill King tells Eric Berger: “Whatever gets done, says King . . . it’s important not to view it as a magic bullet. ‘I think it’s a big mistake to think about this issue as a single project,’ he said. ‘One thing I learned from the Dutch is that they’ve been doing this for 700 years. We’re starting a war, trying to hold back Galveston Bay from inundating the area, that’s never going to end.’” [Houston Chronicle]