Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: April 3, 2019

Why do Texas officials need a disaster to police polluters? [Editorial]

(Houston Chronicle, Updated 03/31/2019. Photo by Godofredo A. Vasquez)

“Routinely accepting companies’ excuses for unauthorized pollution makes it easy for them to skirt state laws, avoid sanctions and endanger Texans’ health without us ever knowing. Pretty much the only time Texas polluters are held seriously accountable is when the harm they’ve caused is so obvious, so egregious, it’s written in the sky — quite literally in the case of the recent ITC chemical fires.” houstonchronicle.com

KMCO Crosby plant fire won’t be the last if Texas doesn’t police polluters [Editorial]

(The Editorial Board – Houston Chronicle, Updated 04/02/2019. Photo by Godofredo A. Vasquez)

“Another hellish plume of black smoke. Another captive community ordered to shelter in place. Another chemical plant with a long history of regulatory violations. Only this time, the fire was deadly. People across the Houston region can be forgiven for feeling a bit of déjà vu Tuesday afternoon as live local news coverage depicted fiery scenes at a chemical plant in Crosby owned by KMCO LLC. Law enforcement said one person had been killed and two were LifeFlighted to the hospital.” houstonchronicle.com

Equity matters. Houston needs to protect everyone from flooding. [Opinion]

(Iris Gonzalez – Houston Chronicle, 03/26/2019. Photo by Marie D. De Jesús)

“For decades, federal dollars for flood control have been spent in Houston and Harris County using federally mandated criteria that pay out to the properties with high value, regardless of how many — or few — people are protected. One consequence is that some areas, and some people, are at higher risk of flooding than others. Those federally mandated criteria have left some communities behind.” houstonchronicle.com

EcoNotes

  • 2 April
    • Take Your Next Step Toward a Zero Waste Footprint This Earth Day (Susie Tommaney – Houston Press) houstonpress.com
    • What we know about the company behind the KMCO Crosby plant fire (Marissa Luck – Houston Chronicle) houstonchronicle.com
    • KMCO Crosby plant has long history of environmental, safety violations (Matt Dempsey – Houston Chronicle) houstonchronicle.com
    • Canada warming at twice the global rate, climate report finds (Leyland Cecco – The Guardian) theguardian.com
    • Citing climate differences, Shell walks away from U.S. refining lobby (Ron Bousso – Reuters) reuters.com
    • New York gets serious about traffic with the first citywide US congestion pricing plan (John Rennie Short – The Conversation) theconversation.com
  • 1 April
    • Houston Could Feel More Like Central Mexico In 60 Years (Michael Hagerty – Houston Public Media) houstonpublicmedia.org
    • Dammed to Fail: An Observer investigation finds that unregulated dams across Texas are increasingly failing — putting people and property in jeopardy. (Naveena Sadasivam – The Texas Observer) texasobserver.org
    • Offshore wind for Texas about a decade away (L. M. Sixel – Houston Chronicle) chron.com
    • Rail travel is cleaner than driving or flying, but will Americans buy in? (Andreas Hoffrichter – The Conversation) theconversation.com
  • 31 March
    • Mutilated dolphins wash up on French coast in record numbers (Kim Willsher – The Guardian) theguardian.com
  • 30 March
    • Ecotourism in Texas Is Way Down, Thanks to Trump’s Border Wall (Judy Molland – Care2) care2.com
  • 29 March
    • Corps advances Buffalo Bayou flood-risk study (Karen Zurawski – Houston Chronicle) houstonchronicle.com
    • To help save recycling, a preacher, known as ‘Rev,’ untwists caps, empties bottles and educates (Andrea Leinfelder – Houston Chronicle) houstonchronicle.com
    • Organic lawn maintenance planned for parts of Hermann Park (Tracy Maness – Houston Chronicle) chron.com
  • 28 March
    • In Texas even the mildest climate bills face near-certain death (Randy Lee Loftis – Texas Climate News) texasclimatenews.org
    • Sustainability is a must for Texas and U.S. forests [Opinion] (Blake Hudson – Houston Chronicle) houstonchronicle.com
    • Beto O’Rourke: just how green is the Texas Democrat? (Tom Dart – The Guardian) theguardian.com
    • Turning waste into an asset in Aqaba, Jordan (United Nations Environment Programme) unenvironment.org
  • 27 March
    • As Houston choked on toxic fumes, Texas legislators targeted air quality programs (Naveena Sadasivam, The Texas Observer – Grist) grist.org
    • Lawsuits Against ITC Pile Up As Harris County Sues For Environmental Violations In Deer Park Fire (Jen Rice – Houston Public Media) houstonpublicmedia.org
    • Environmentalists oppose land bridges at Memorial Park (Adam Zuvanich – The Leader) theleadernews.com
    • New Zealand aims to save the ‘strangest parrot on Earth’ (Marylou Tousignant – The Washington Post) washingtonpost.com
  • 26 March
    • EPA urges people to not eat fish from Houston Ship Channel as water sampling continues (Taisha Walker – Click2Houston / KPRC2) click2houston.com
    • Deer Park fire official reflects on marathon battle with ITC blaze (Jennifer Bolton – Houston Chronicle) chron.com
    • Choosing Ocean-Friendly Seafood Saves Marine Animal (Sydney Fitzpatrick and Lauren Wappler – Houston Zoo) houstonzoo.org
    • Senate rejects Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal after almost every Democrat refuses to participate in the ‘stunt’ vote (Joe Perticone – Business Insider) businessinsider.com
    • Global Pact for the Environment Talks Set the Stage for Negotiations (Lynn Wagner – International Institute for Sustainable Development) sdg.iisg.org
  • 24 March
    • 30 years later, re-live the incredible scenes from the Exxon Valdez oil spill (Peter Dawson – Houston Chronicle) chron.com
  • 21 March
    • Solar companies flock to a Texas tax break with questionable payback (Eric Dexheimer, Austin Bureau – Houston Chronicle) houstonchronicle.com
  • 12 March
    • BirthStrikers: meet the women who refuse to have children until climate change ends (Elle Hunt – The Guardian) theguardian.com
  • 12 February
    • Climate of North American cities will shift hundreds of miles in one generation (Appalachian Laboratory – University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science) umces.edu