As Catastrophic Flooding Hits Houston, Fears Grow of Pollution From Oil Refineries and Superfund Sites

A catastrophic storm has hit Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest city and home to the largest refining and petrochemical complex in the United States. The crisis began on Friday when Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Rockport, Texas. It was the most powerful hurricane to strike the state in more than 50 years. Much of the damage has been caused by the massive rainfall, with parts of Texas already receiving 30 inches of rain. That could top 50 inches in the coming days. Entire highways in Houston are now underwater. The storm has caused five reported deaths, but the death toll is expected to rise. Thousands of people are still stranded in their homes, waiting to be rescued. Meanwhile, the city of Dallas prepares to turn its convention center into a mega-shelter to host 5,000 evacuees. The National Weather Service released a statement on Sunday saying, “This event is unprecedented and all impacts are unknown and beyond anything experienced.” We speak with Bryan Parras, an organizer for the “Beyond Dirty Fuels” campaign with the Sierra Club in Houston, Texas. He helped found the environmental justice group t.e.j.a.s.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, Democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, joined by Democracy Now!’s Renee Feltz, a Houston native.

RENEE FELTZ: Good morning, and thank you, Amy. And good morning to all of our listeners and viewers around the country and around the world, and potentially in Houston, underwater. A catastrophic storm has hit Houston, Texas, and the flooding is expected to only worsen in the coming days. Houston is the nation’s fourth largest city and home to the largest refining and petrochemical complex in the United States.

The crisis began on Friday when Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Rockport, Texas. It was the most powerful hurricane to hit the state in more than 50 years. But much of the damage has been caused not by the wind or tides, but by the massive rainfall. Some parts of Texas have already received 30 inches of…

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