From Surviving to Thriving -- Emergency Waiver of Health, Safety, and Environmental Rules

by Victor Flatt | September 19, 2018

This post is part of CPR's From Surviving to Thriving: Equity in Disaster Planning and Recovery report. Click here to read previously posted chapters.

On August 23, 2017, Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared a state of emergency as Hurricane Harvey approached the Texas Coast. That state of emergency was ultimately expanded to 60 counties in Texas. Emergency declarations in Texas (as in many states and for the federal government) allow the governor to unilaterally suspend specific rules and regulations if they are expected to hinder disaster recovery. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) asked Governor Abbott to suspend dozens of environmental rules on August 28, 2017, as Harvey was continuing to pummel Houston and the Texas Gulf Coast area.

The waiver request specified air quality rules related to emission “upset” events as well as monitoring and releases of unpermitted Volatile Organic Compounds. Predictably, the request indicated that it was necessary because of immediate Harvey impacts and hurricane recovery efforts. Specifically, the TCEQ’s request noted that compliance with air and water pollution laws:

may not be possible as a result of hurricane effects, such as lightning, floods, fires, wind or wind-blown damage, and power outages[;] and suspending these requirements would remove a potential impediment to disaster response.

However, these waivers were still in place months after the direct effects of the hurricane (lightning, floods, fires, wind, or wind-blown damage) had passed and ...

From Surviving to Thriving -- Worker Health and Disaster

by Katie Tracy | September 18, 2018
This post is part of CPR's From Surviving to Thriving: Equity in Disaster Planning and Recovery report. Click here to read previously posted chapters. Lachlan Brain, a 22-year-old electrical lineman from Tennessee, traveled to Houston following Hurricane Harvey to help with the relief effort, working for T&D Solutions, a company that specializes in maintaining and repairing power lines and related equipment. While working inside a bucket truck on August 25, 2017, Brain leaned across an electrical line, came into contact with a ...

Extreme Weather and Climate Disruption Since Katrina

by David Driesen | August 28, 2015
CPR’s Unnatural Disaster report pointed out that current energy policies favoring fossil fuels made it “more likely that there will be disasters like Katrina in the future.” It explained that global climate disruption increases temperatures thereby causing sea level rise, a big threat to the Gulf Coast, and that climate disruption models suggest a shift toward extreme weather events. Since Katrina, we have certainly seen lots of extreme weather. Perhaps most reminiscent of Katrina, on October 30, 2012, Superstorm Sandy ...

Two Years and Counting: Looking Forward

Farber | Dec 10, 2018 | Environmental Policy

Two Years and Counting: A Historical Perspective

Farber | Dec 06, 2018 | Environmental Policy

Two Years and Counting: Trump at Mid-Term

Farber | Dec 03, 2018 | Environmental Policy
Recommended Resources:
Climate Change
Time for Real Action on Global Warming

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