A Toxic Storm: Hazardous Facilities, Failed Chemical Safety Policies, and Extreme Weather Leave Houston Residents Swimming in Toxic Soup
Aug 30, 2017, 17:35 ET
WASHINGTON, Aug. 30, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --
In response to the devastation and suffering created by Tropical Storm Harvey, and the toxic hazards posed to health and the environment by dozens of hazardous industrial and commercial facilities concentrated in the Houston area, Michele Roberts, Co-Coordinator of the Environmental Justice Health Alliance (EJHA), issued the following statement:
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and all those suffering in Houston and along the Gulf Coast from the impacts of Tropical Storm Harvey. EJHA and our partner, Coming Clean, work closely with affiliates and communities in Houston and throughout the Gulf Coast who have been impacted by this storm, and concern for their health and safety is foremost in our minds.
"Victims of this storm are now facing an unacceptable confluence of environmental injustices—and if past is prologue, they will continue to face overlapping hardships for years to come. Tropical Storm Harvey is now understood to be the most extreme rain event ever recorded in United States history. Undoubtedly, Harvey was made worse by rising sea levels and the increasing prevalence of extreme weather events fueled by global warming pollution. Refineries and petrochemical operations in Houston, almost too numerous to count, have been venting a toxic mix of hazardous air pollutants those trapped by rising floodwaters are forced to breath. The long-term health consequences of this toxic air pollution are unknown. Adding insult to injury, the Trump Administration's failure to adequately protect communities from hazardous industrial facilities which, under the stress of Harvey, pose an acute risk of explosion or poison gas release. This forces impacted communities to worry about dozens of 'ticking time bomb' facilities in their neighborhoods which might cause a catastrophic accident on top of catastrophic flooding. When the waters eventually recede, people will face the challenge of rebuilding, but also the hazards created by flooded toxic waste sites, damaged and leaking chemical storage tanks, and waste escaping from petrochemical manufacturing plants—polluting the water and soil our communities depend on. The concentration of only minimally regulated chemical, oil, and gas facilities in low-lying areas, disproportionately composed of communities of color and low-income communities…
Continue reading the full statement here.
SOURCE Environmental Justice Health Alliance (EJHA)
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