Sky-High Rents at The Southmore; Houston Bike Plan’s Funding Trickle; MDI Superfund Site Testing

Photo of the Williams Tower: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool


9 Comment

  • The federal govt has no constitutional jurisdiction over superfund sites unless they’re on federally owned land…so the EPA shouldn’t be involved at all ever.

  • Glad they’re finally cleaning up the bum homes across from The Spur apartments at 219 W Alabama. While we have a lot of demand there and can still stay full, a large % of people that come to view are turned off by the ‘housing’ under the spur.

  • @Dana-X: That’s a great theoretical assertion, but Superfund as it exists today is not going anywhere anytime soon. I have my issues with Superfund as well, but in the grand scheme of things, it is the only remedy left for the populace for a many of the worst environmental abuses of capitalism. The threat of getting dragged into a messy, expensive and inefficient government-led cleanup is satisfactory motivation for many companies today to better manage their pollution. One company I worked at was involved in 16 Superfunds dating back to their activities in the 70’s and 80’s, and thus had a rolling environmental reserve in the tens of millions of dollars, which was a huge suck on cash flow. By the late 1990’s we had developed a world-class environmental program and were performing much better with our waste management, and polluting a lot less. The odiousness of Superfund was the main driver (at least for that company).

  • Superdave, I’m sure communist Russia left no traces of pollution from it’s industry. Your comment revealed a slant right off the mark. Too bad.

  • J is certainly correct, the USSR and other “communist” countries like China and Vietnam have a horrible track record of environmental abuses and outright disasters. However, most of these are the result of annointed individuals and groups of people both within various levels of government as well as the private sector whom have colluded in order to subvert the spirit of regulations which were written with the implication in mind that they should be subverted in such a way. These people are rent seekers; and what we think of as communist is usually communist in name only, and actually is just an advanced form of capitalism. Of course, capitalism also exists in republican democracies and is the thing that makes anarchy impossible. The term “capitalism” is such a loose fit for such a broad swath of human behavior. How about we just drop the clumsy semantics and rhetoric and assert the “human condition”.

  • “communism is an advanced form of capitalism” you sure about that pal?

  • The clean-up of the super fund site comes down to who controls the cleanup process (Private developer or EPA). The skeptic says that the private developer will skimp on cost with a long term impact to the community. The economist in me is happy that this is privately being remediated with the necessary approvals from the EPA. This TEJAS group running this protest is just trying to secure more funding for the EPA by using old and bad data.

  • I work day in and day out with major companies and their accounting policies around managing and closing environmental sites. Superdave is exactly right, Superfund is often the stick that motivates companies to do better (cleaning messes and preventing future ones). The EPA does not want to deal with these sites, they want the responsible parties to do so, but that is like herding cats. Herding cats gets much easier when you have a scary (even blind, limp, geriatric and old) dog to help motivate.

    Mr. Clean19’s skeptic is also not far off. I’ve personally seen a lot of really dumb and often purposefully useless remedial proposals in the early stage of the whole process. A third party (EPA) pushing parties to do better with their remediation is mandatory. As we’ve seen, people and companies are often poorly motivated to do the best for others if it comes at the cost to their bottom line. Given human nature, there HAS to be a skeptical third party involved to keep all parties honest. It is best if that third party is staffed with people who actually know stuff about the work they are regulating and not just friends with the governor or president.

  • Nice photo Russell