Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: March 10, 2022

HUD points to discrimination when state denied flood aid to city, county

(Houston Chronicle, Dylan McGuinness and Jasper Scherer, Updated 03/09/22. Photo: Godofredo A. Vasquez)

“In a decision that could redirect millions of dollars in flood relief to Houston, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found the Texas General Land Office discriminated against minority residents and ran afoul of federal civil rights protections when it denied flood mitigation aid last May to the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Harvey. “

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Residents want creosote removed

(Houston Chronicle, Emily Foxhall, Updated 03/01/22. Photo by Brett Coomer.)

“Activist Sandra Edwards didn’t want Black History Month to pass her by without again calling attention to Union Pacific’s failure to remove all the toxic creosote that seeped into the groundwater and soil at the end of her street in Fifth Ward.

Residents in this historically Black community are tired of fighting for change — but still they press on, promising they’re not going to stop. “

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Years after Harvey, family is finally home

(Houston Chronicle, R. A. Schuetz, Updated 03/03/22. Photo by Yi-Chin Lee.)

“Sister and brother Juanita and Clifton Hall were two of thousands who applied for federal aid to fix their flood-damaged home, only to be caught in red tape and infighting between Houston and the Texas General Land Office, which administers disaster recovery funds statewide. The prolonged delays in distributing assistance has drawn scrutiny from the Office of Inspector General, which is tasked with government oversight.

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Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: February 17, 2022

Fifth Ward residents tired of fighting contamination and seeing no action

(Houston Chronicle, Emily Foxhall, Updated 02/15/22. Photo: Melissa Phillip)

“London didn’t want still to be talking about the fact that decades after the potential danger was known the rail yard in Fifth Ward remains contaminated with creosote, a chemical sludge suspected to cause cancer. She didn’t want still to be pointing out that the area has higher rates of certain cancers than state researchers expect to find.”

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Plan would give city only $9M in flood funds

(Houston Chronicle, Dylan McGuinness, Updated 02/16/22. Photo: Bret Coomer)

“The fact is, Texas received this money for damages that occurred in Houston and Harris County,” Turner said. “Houston and Harris County suffered 50 percent of the damages during Harvey, which is not up for debate. What am I missing? If circumstances were different, I would advocate for the other jurisdictions. 

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O’Rourke targets Abbott, freeze

(Leah Brennan and Dylan McGuiness Updated 02/16/22. Photo: Karen Warren)

“Beto O’Rourke on Tuesday night spoke about the heartbreak of last year’s fatal freeze in Texas and said why he believes it happened, in hopes that it’s not repeated.

The Democrat has homed in on the power outages as he campaigns against incumbent Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.”

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Environmental Headlines for the Houston Region: February 9, 2022

EPA nixes state take on toxic chemicals

(Houston Chronicle, Emily Foxhall, Updated 02/07/22. Photo: Mark Mulligan)

“The fight centers on a chemical that, like many produced in the Houston region, most enjoy the benefits and suffer the risks of, but few have any idea exists. It’s a colorless gas called ethylene oxide, best known for its effectiveness in sterilizing medical equipment. It’s also used to purify spices and make a range of household products.”

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Oil firms’ climate efforts targeted

(Houston Chronicle, James Osbourne, Updated 02/09/22. Photo: associated press file)

“In recent years, major oil companies such as Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell have worked to move beyond the industry’s climate denial of the 1990s and 2000s, pledging to get their operations to net-zero emissions by 2050.

But that typically does not include greenhouse gasses from the products they sell, such as gasoline and jet fuel… “

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Black farmers upset debt relief is held up

(The Texas Tribune, James Pollard [repost Houston Chronicle] Updated 02/07/22. Photo: Meridith Kohut/ for the Texas Tribune.)

“Recent data suggests the USDA continues to disproportionately reject Black farmers for loans. According to a CNN analysis, 42 percent of Black farmers were rejected for direct USDA loans in 2021, more than any other demographic group.”

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