Environmental Crisis Unfolding in Houston as Oil and Chemical Industry Spew Toxic Pollutants Into Air

As fallout from Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana continues, at least 30 people have died and more than 17,000 people are in shelters. Hundreds of thousands are under evacuation orders, and all past US rainfall records have been shattered. In Texas, a third of Harris County — which encompasses Houston — is currently underwater. Houston officials have imposed a mandatory curfew between midnight and 5 a.m. ExxonMobil says Harvey has damaged at least two of its refineries, causing thousands of pounds of chemicals to be released into the air. Residents in Crosby, Texas, are being evacuated amid concerns a chemical factory damaged by Harvey could explode. We speak with Bryan Parras, organizer with the Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign and the group Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (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 Renée Feltz, who is a native of Houston, her family in Houston dealing, as so many other people are right now, with this apocalyptic storm. Renée?

RENÉE FELTZ: Thank you, Amy. And thank goodness my family is OK, and I hope everyone else is surviving.

In Texas and Louisiana, at least 30 people have died, more than 17,000 people are in shelters, hundreds of thousands are under evacuation orders, and all past U.S. rainfall records have been shattered, as Hurricane Harvey continues to wreak climate chaos in Houston, the fourth-largest city in the United States. Early today, Harvey, now a tropical storm, made landfall again near Cameron, Louisiana, just beyond the Texas border. Nearly a third of Harris County residents remain underwater. The county is home to over 4.5 million people and includes Houston. While the rain has largely moved east into Louisiana, the Houston area remains in a state of crisis as rivers continue to rise and two large reservoirs are overflowing.

Concern is also growing over the environmental and…

Read more