Comment of the Day: Making Sure the House Wins Houston’s Toxicity Gamble

COMMENT OF THE DAY: MAKING SURE THE HOUSE WINS HOUSTON’S TOXICITY GAMBLE EPA mapped Superfund sites via Enviromapper“Its very clear that the east side of town has the largest concentration of known pollution release points (permitted and otherwise). However, you can also easily see that there are corridors extending to the north, northwest, and south. They follow the most active freight rail lines, and the heavy industry that got built up all around them. And then there’s hazmat stuff like this, which can be located basically in any warehouse, office warehouse, distribution center, or manufacturing facility in any part of town — and it won’t get onto the map. (Remember the explosion in West, TX? Not gonna be on the map.)  . . . If you want the best odds on avoiding all that stuff, then find yourself a relatively new neighborhood that was built as greenfield development, check historical imagery on Google Earth to confirm what was there previously, buy a house in the interior of it, and be sure that you’re getting your water from a large, well-run water system. You should never drive into the city for any sort of business, civic, or educational function without donning a gas mask, and you should bring bottled water from home. Or you could just accept that there are some risks in life and balance them with the things you value — whatever that may be.” [TheNiche, commenting on That Blood Red Stuff in the Bayou May Not Be Spring Branch’s Biggest Problem Right Now] Map of Houston area Superfund sites: EPA Enviromapper

6 Comment

  • I was amused/horrified by this post, but it ends with a false choice. I don’t have to do all the things that Niche lists or accept the current polluted reality. I can instead agitate for a cleaner environment in order to reduce pollution risks over time.

  • Speaking of the explosion in West, TX, ATF confirmed today that the fire was intentionally set. Locals knew this all along and know exactly who did it, it was a local guy who always seeked attention and played cop and firefighter all the time. Apparently he set fire to the structure and called the fire department so he can look like a hero, unfortunately he underestimated the danger and fortunately also died in the explosion.

  • I just moved away completely to another cleaner area of the country because I know fighting for clean air and water isn’t a priority in Houston. I’m lucky that I could flee the pollution. I worry for those that are not so lucky and must face the “risks in life” that they are unable to escape due to lack of education or economic opportunity

  • @ Houstonreader: Sure, you can choose to mitigate risk rather than to avoid it. However…
    As sure as you were born, you’re gonna die; and to have children is to doom them to the myriad hazards that ensure one’s mortality as well as intermittent bouts of suffering. To struggle against this fact with all of one’s vigor is an exercise in futility. You can neither avoid or mitigate all risks. Even in a hypothetical case were successful at that, it may yield a quality of life such that they may come to wish that they hadn’t have done so.
    There is in fact really only one choice. Each person must strike a balance for themselves — I can’t tell you what that is — and pursue their pleasures and avoid/mitigate their suffering in order to make their life worthwhile.

  • Buddha Niche.

  • @Duston – I disagree. Actually, Houston has substantially improved both and air and water quality in the past few decades. I remember the haze days back in the early 90’s when you could not see more than a few miles through the smog when driving down the Katy Freeway, nor could you see the tops of the taller buildings. Also, nearly all of the illegal water pollution sources have been permitted and/or rerouted into treatment systems. The ones that haven’t are eventually caught and have to pay hefty fines, or the responsible people go to jail. It is true that much of the improvement was driven by federal and state regulation that trickled down to Houston, but that is true for most major cities. Glad you found a place that meets your strict standards – but I doubt it would have the economic opportunities for everyone presented by Houston.