As we approach the next election, I think it’s important to point out the many failures of our current Governor Greg Abbott. Abbott is widely known to favor industry over the people he represents. He famously instituted new laws that prevent citizens from banning fracking in their communities after the residents of Denton, Texas voted to ban the practice. The residents of Denton have no remedy now for their reduced property values due to the many ill-effects of this environmentally harmful industry.
Abbott boasts of his war chest. It is a war chest made up of contributions from the oil and gas industry. Abbott’s love affair with the oil and gas industry started when he was Attorney General. Here is a recent quote from an AP article. “As attorney general, prior to being elected governor, Abbott had sued the federal government more than a dozen times to challenge environmental regulations that he deemed over-reaching.” Just like his climate change denier friend and EPA chief Scott Pruitt, Abbott has shown a complete disregard for the safety of the very citizens who elected him. Now the people of Houston are facing a number environmental emergencies that have arisen in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. What has Abbott done to protect the citizens of Houston? “As Harvey bore down on Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott’s administration decreed that storm-related pollution would be forgiven as “acts of God.” Days later, he suspended many environmental regulations.”
If there is one place in this country that is susceptible to pollution by flooding it is Houston, the petrochemical hub of the nation. Yet Abbott’s actions have hampered local authorities ability to deal with this growing emergency. “Local officials say the state’s industry-friendly approach has weakened efforts by the city of Houston and surrounding Harris County to build cases against and force cleanup by the companies, many of them repeat environmental offenders.”
When you combine Abbott’s inaction with Scot Pruitt’s ruinous record at the EPA, you get an environmental catastrophe where industry is allowed to pollute with impunity. “A top city health official emailed the EPA on Sept. 1 with a request marked “urgent,” asking for help in determining whether spills and leaks at industrial and Superfund sites threatened the public. Three days later, after getting no response, she emailed again, records obtained in a public information act request show. ‘”We are finding alarming levels of benzene in the neighborhood next to Valero . Should EPA evacuate the residents?”‘ The EPA never responded.
The people of Texas deserve better.