Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts tagged as “flooding”

GLO responds to criticism, sends $750 mil to Harris County

HARRIS COUNTY – After last week’s announcement from the state GLO, local leaders in Harris County and the City of Houston were vocal in their unhappiness about the fact that almost no flood mitigation funds had been allocated for these two areas, in spite of the fact that Hurricane Harvey had devastated more homes and businesses than anywhere else in the state. Judge Hidalgo petitioned HUD, the federal department providing the flood funds to the state, to reconsider the criteria and allocate money to the local needs.

As a result, George P. Bush, director of the GLO, changed his original statement and promised the county that they would receive a block grant of $750 million without waiting for the second round of allocations. However, as told to this newspaper by a representative of the GLO, this money will come from the $2.144 billion sent to Texas for flood mitigation from Hurricane Harvey, rather than additional funding.

GLO, Feds deny flood funds to Harris County

Harris County and Houston officials learned Friday that the state GLO (General Land Office) and the federal HUD (Housing and Urban Development) had determined that these two governments would not receive any Flood Mitigation funding of the approximately $1 billion that was available, in the first round of allocations by the state.

The allocations are based on a formula to determine which communities are the neediest, according to GLO. Within Harris County, approximately $90 million was allocated to Baytown, Pasadena, Galena Park, and Jacinto City for flood mitigation projects that they had applied for.

Harris County had submitted an application asking for $900 million, according to Pct. 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia. Commissioner Garcia, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner issued statements expressing their displeasure and disbelief in news of the allocations not including local jurisdictions.

Commissioner Garcia said that he was upset, and “incredibly frustrated.” Judge Hidalgo said, “It is unconscionable that the very community hit with the most flooded structures by far during Hurricane Harvey received nothing as part of this Harvey Mitigation allocation.”

Mayor Turner said, “For the State GLO not to give one dime in the initial distribution to the City and a very small portion to Harris County shows a callous disregard to the people of Houston and Harris County.”

Judge Hidalgo said that she plans to ask HUD for a review of the criteria used, and assurance that the County will receive future fund allocations. She said the formulas that are used disadvantage large urban areas that are hardest hit.

Flood funds need matches for mitigation

By Lewis Spearman

EAST HARRIS COUNTY – Problems matching money set aside to mitigate flooding locally are allowing flood conditions to threaten the Greater Houston Area.

Remember all those floods from the Memorial Day Flood to Hurricane Harvey? Citizens of Harris County passed a $2.5 billion dollar matching funds bond to deal with making an infrastructure to reduce the risk of floods.

The $2.5 billion bond passed in 2018, and Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) planned for state and federal agencies to match the bond amount. But the HCFCD explained that the Texas General Land Office changed how it allocated funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Houston and Harris County are now competing with the rest of Texas for Hurricane Harvey relief. The 2015 Memorial Day and 2016 Tax Day floods did not receive grants, according to the HCFCD.

State of the County focuses on COVID-19

HEB president Scott McClelland and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo presented the annual State of the County address in the style of a “Fireside Chat.”

Judge Lina Hidalgo’s discusses her ideal pandemic re-opening strategy

By Jada Mier

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and H.E.B.’s President Scott McClelland discussed some important topics at the Annual State of the County “Fireside Chat” held over Livestream. In a 33- minute conversation, the issues discussed were the pandemic, racial justice, and the Ike Dike coastal barrier.

Harris County has a total of 170,835 confirmed virus cases and 2,322 deaths; Judge Lina Hidalgo thinks it’s time for a “necessary pullback.” The number of new cases has increased by 40 percent, Hidalgo says. She feels that Harris county would benefit more from a gradual re-opening plan. Stating that she no longer has the authority to enforce this, she thinks what the country needs is a threshold re-opening strategy with scientifically based parameters. Addressing our suffering economy, Hidalgo says Covid-19 safety measures and the economy’s health are synonymous. “When folks know it’s safe out there, they’ll have the confidence to go out and engage in the activities that are going to improve our economy.”

McClelland pointed out the ongoing struggle students have to adapt to their new online school environment due to the global pandemic. In response to Harris County’s lack of connectivity, the county has invested more money to bridge this digital divide. People are noticing the lack of broadband and cellphone towers in more impoverished areas, which leads to an inability to access the internet, Hidalgo said.

Local Superfund sites await funding resolve

HIGHLANDS– CROSBY – The San Jacinto Waste Pit is one of four local Superfund sites that are being reviewed by the Trump Administration in regard to funding.

The recent flooding threats have called for extensive review of the safeguards of contaminants at the French Limited site, the Sikes Disposal Pits, the Highlands Acid Pits and now Patrick Bayou.

The 185-acre Sikes Disposal Pits was a place for dumping petroleum-based and other chemicals, then 22.5-acres was bought to make French Limited, a commercial waste disposal site that burned waste and deposited about 300,000 cubic yards in a lagoon. When Barrett Station and Crosby residents complained of the stench, the Texas Water Development Board required French Limited to apply for a waste-control permit. After three years of negotiations a permit was granted with provisions that the company never achieved. The permit was cancelled in 1971 and the company was sued for noncompliance and the state took the site.

Hurricane revives talk of Ike Dike

The IKE DIKE would include two huge swinging gates, that would block the storm surge from a Hurricane, and protect the development around Galveston Bay.

HURRICANE LAURA BRINGS RENEWED PITCH FOR IKE DIKE

As thousands fled southeast Texas ahead of Hurricane Laura, Texas A&M promoted an Ike Dike as a critical way to protect the region from devastating damage.

Texas escaped a direct hit from Laura, which made landfall as a Category 4 storm in Cameron Parish, Louisiana, just east of Port Arthur. Despite the state’s luck this time, Texas A&M marine scientists urged action on their proposal to build a series of barriers, levees and gates that would close off Galveston Bay from storm surge.

William Merrell, a professor at Texas A&M-Galveston and a former president of the school, helped develop the plan after Hurricane Ike devastated Galveston in 2008, resulting in $30 billion in damages and killing more than 50 people.

Precinct 2 ready for Hurricanes, flooding

Commissioner Adrian Garcia

Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia has been planning for a busy hurricane season, and possible street flooding, he recently reported in an interview on a local news blog. Garcia told Michael Palmer of NNB that his precinct prepares every day of the year, not just hurricane season, for responses to natural disasters, man-made accidents, and even a pandemic. He noted that last year the county saw a series of natural disasters that they responded to. These included the ITC fire, the KMCO explosion, a lightning strike at a refinery, a barge accident under I10 and another in the ship channel, and the flooding from Tropical Storm Imelda. Garcia noted his own experience with disasters includes hurricanes such as Alycia, Katrina, and Ike.

“And so I understand these events,” he said. “We have good coordination with our area mayors, and work closely with all of the entities necessary when it comes to a disaster of any sort.”

Garcia also spoke about flooding from storms, and areas in his Precinct that have been inundated.

“Precinct 2 is a Downstream Side of many surrounding counties, and we get 70% of everyone else’s water. I supported the $2.5 Billion flood bond election, but I want to make sure that we’re using the money wisely.”

The commissioner said that he works closely with the Harris County Flood Control District, to insure that new projects don’t add to the flood problem.

Water Main break affects city of Houston

BROKEN PIPE IS UNDER REPAIR ALONG CLINTON DRIVE NEAR THE EAST LOOP. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

By Gilbert Hoffman

Schools, businesses and public events were closed last Friday, due to a water main break on the east side of Houston in a line that fed about half the city. Houston ISD schools, colleges and many businesses were also closed, or events cancelled, as a precaution against contaminated water or low water pressure. The City of Houston issued a “Boil Water” notice for most of the city.

Water districts on the East side of the county, including Crosby, Highlands, and Baytown, did not experience any pressure or supply problems. Crosby gets its water directly from Lake Houston.

A 96 inch wide water main, carrying water from the Houston water treatment plant in Galena Park to about half the city, burst on Thursday about noon. Workers from Harper Brothers were performing repair work on a small leak, according to authorities, when the whole pipe burst open flooding nearby streets and the six lane East Loop under Clinton Drive. Several feet of water covered the streets, stopping traffic and flooding about a dozen cars. Houston Fire Department said they conducted three deep water rescues. The location of the burst pipe was near the intersection of Clinton Drive and N. Carolina streets in the Clinton Park neighborhood, and buildings in that area had water inside, as outside it was several feet deep.

Water supply and water pressure were affected throughout the east side of Houston and into midtown. Schools and businesses were forced to close without water, and many indicated they would also be closed on Friday, until the pipe could be repaired and water quality restored.

Garcia battles for fair play for Precinct 2

Commissioner Adrian Garcia talks at Crosby Chamber

CROSBY – Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia indicated that he intends to make sure that as long as he represents the Precinct, county services will not go lacking, anymore.

Last Thursday, the Commissioner and former Sheriff addressed a capacity crowd in the office and serving chapel of Crosby Church hosting the Crosby-Huffman Chamber of Commerce Luncheon concerning flood control, roads, and working together with businesses.