NORTHEAST HARRIS COUNTY – Modern politics has certainly discovered that a tension exist between bustling business, construction and environmental concerns. No one wants jobs to go away or to be poisoned.
Anyone can bet that concrete is necessary for construction. Sand is necessary for concrete. The Greater Houston Area is burgeoning, trying to recover from Hurricane Harvey. A tension has emerged with questions of ‘did digging for sand along the San Jacinto help flood the unincorporated areas during Hurricane Harvey?’
In northeast Harris County sand has become one of the largest industries locally. Nationwide it accounts for nearly $8.billion dollars.
In Austin, the Texas Legislature, typically a business friendly bunch, is looking into what needs to be done about mining sand. One proposed law would call for a new inspections program and require a hydrology assessment for permits to mine. This new law would make it a crime to lie about records and activities. Republican Governor Greg Abbott asked state regulators to more closely monitor and back up existing rules in sand mining.
The Harris County Flood District is planning to look more closely at the industry and practices.
Those that lost their homes in Hurricane Harvey have asked if larger amounts of sand that settled down the river contributed to making the outcome of the storm worse on those living on the river.
The implication is that flooding relocated sand and dumped it where it increased the tendency to flood neighborhoods because the river was not able to handle as much as it might otherwise have been able to hold.
Miners of sand point out that they had no loss of sand from their locations and that sand holes may have even held back some of the water.
Academics are found to weigh in all over the place to say what might be responsible for increased flooding.