Surrounded by Oil Refineries, Port Arthur, Texas, Faces New Environmental Crisis Following Harvey Floods

Six days after Hurricane Harvey made landfall, the unprecedented storm is continuing to wreak havoc in Texas and parts of Louisiana. The death toll has risen to at least 38, but authorities expect it to grow as the historic floodwaters begin to recede. Early this morning, a pair of explosions rocked a chemical plant 30 miles northeast of Houston, sending thick black smoke into the air. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office says one deputy was taken to the hospital after inhaling fumes, and nine others drove themselves to the hospital.

Now a tropical depression, Harvey has moved inland, but many parts of Texas remain underwater or under flood watch. On Thursday, the city of Port Arthur, Texas, which is 100 miles east of Houston, was completely underwater. AccuWeather is now projecting the economic impact of Harvey might top $190 billion — exceeding the economic impact of Katrina and Sandy combined. Up to 40,000 homes may been destroyed and 500,000 cars totaled in the storm. According to the Red Cross, more than 32,000 people are in shelters in Texas. We speak with Hilton Kelley, the founder of Community In-Power and Development Association in Port Arthur, Texas. He is a former Hollywood stuntman turned environmental activist. In 2011, he was awarded the Goldman Prize, the world’s most prestigious environmental award, for his work battling for communities living near polluting industries in Port Arthur and the Texas Gulf Coast. Port Arthur is home to the largest oil refinery in the nation — the Saudi-owned Motiva plant, which has been shut down due to flooding.

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Via:: Truthout

      

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