Six Months After Harvey, Environmental Justice and Climate Change Absent From Houston’s Recovery Plans

This week marks six months since Hurricane Harvey caused historic flooding in Houston, Texas, the most diverse city in the nation and one of its largest. Houston is also home to the largest refining and petrochemical complex in the country. As federal money for rebuilding trickles in, Houston’s chief “recovery czar” is the president of Shell Oil, Marvin Odum, whose past experience includes rebuilding Shell’s oil and gas facilities after Hurricane Katrina. Meanwhile, immigrants and fenceline communities who suffer from pollution along Houston’s industrial corridor are still largely absent from much of the discussion about how the city plans to recover. For more, we host a roundtable discussion with Dr. Robert Bullard, the “father of environmental justice”; Bryan Parras of the Sierra Club; undocumented immigrant activist Cesar Espinosa; and Goldman Environmental Prize winner Hilton Kelley in Port Arthur, Texas.

TRANSCRIPT

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, this week marks six months since Hurricane Harvey caused historic flooding in Houston, Texas, the fourth-largest city in the United States and one of the most diverse cities in the nation. Houston is also home to the largest refining and petrochemical complex in the country.

We’ll spend the rest of the hour looking at the state of environmental justice in Houston since the storm. As federal money for rebuilding trickles in, Houston’s chief “recovery czar” is the president of Shell Oil, Marvin Odum, whose past experience includes rebuilding Shell’s oil and gas facilities after Hurricane Katrina. This is Odum speaking Thursday.

MARVIN ODUM: This recovery is also an opportunity to take an enormous step forward in achieving the vision of ensuring access to an affordable and safe home for every resident. And to that end, we are also coordinating, again — with a look around the room — with private and philanthropic funding sources, particularly now, as the mayor…

Read more