For Immediate Release
Sept. 11, 2020
Contact: Angelica Luna-Kaufman
Officials Say Lack of Flood, Hurricane Protections Leaves Houston-Region Vulnerable
Commissioner Candidate Michael Moore Cites ‘Urgent Need’ to Move Multiple Projects Forward
HOUSTON – During the period of calm following Hurricane Laura, Greater Houston needs to focus on expediting key flood control projects to protect itself from the impact of future storms, officials say. These projects have been delayed for years, and Harris County no longer has time to wait.
“There has been a lot of talk and a lot of delays,” said Michael Moore, the Democratic nominee for Harris County Commissioner, Precinct 3. “We need to move forward.”
Completing flood mitigation fixes for the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs and advancing plans to protect Galveston Bay from a direct hurricane hit are projects designed to ensure the area is better prepared for the inevitability of storms to come, says Moore.
“There is an urgent need to increase our resilience,” he said. “Our infrastructure is vulnerable, and these vulnerabilities can lead to a regional catastrophe.”
The Addicks and Barker Reservoirs are designed to prevent downstream flooding in the City of Houston. In 1995, the Army Corp of Engineers identified issues with their flood mitigation capacity and determined that fixes were needed to reduce the increased flood risk. To date, nothing has been done, says Moore.
In 1996, when I-10 was being built, the Harris County Flood Control district proposed the construction of large-diameter tunnels to help the bayous move excess stormwater out of Harris County. Moore says local officials rejected the plan.
“Our region cannot afford another cycle of more talk, a long study, more delays, people forgetting about it, a devastating storm, finger-pointing, and repeat,” said Moore.
Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia says that Hurricane Laura should raise the alarm in Houston.
“God forbid that that damage could have been here,” Garcia told the Houston Chronicle. “We would have been blaming ourselves for not having taken action. The good Lord has given us a reprieve, and we need to take advantage of it.”
One project still under discussion is the Ike Dike, a coastal barrier that would be created by extending and enhancing the Galveston Seawall. It was proposed in 2008, following Hurricane Ike and its $30 million of damage.
The project would incorporate 71 miles of dikes, dams and sliding gates designed to protect Galveston Island, Bolivar Peninsula, Houston, the Houston Ship Channel, and the port of Houston from storm surges.
Another project designed to protect the Houston area from hurricane damage is the creation of a 10,000-acre public park. Envisioned by Rice University’s SSPEED Center, the Galveston Bay Park would be a chain of man-made islands devised to protect Galveston Bay and the Houston Ship Channel from 25-foot hurricane storm surges.
“The effects of climate change are impacting our region with stronger and more frequent storms and floods,” said Moore. “We are not where we need to be in protecting our communities.
“Fixing the issues with the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs and acting on a plan to safeguard Galveston Bay both need to move forward in order to create the protections we urgently need,” he said.
Harris County Democratic Party Chair, Lillie Schechter, says Moore’s dedication to addressing Greater Houston flood-control and hurricane protection issues makes him stand out as a candidate in the November election.
“Michael Moore was Mayor Bill White’s point person for Houston’s response to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike,” said Schechter. “He has the drive and experience to address our area’s vulnerability to hurricane-related flooding.”
Elected officials in down-ballot races can have an enormous impact on our daily lives and the well-being of our communities, Schechter says.
“Michael Moore is another example of why it is important for all of us to complete the entire ballot when we vote,” she said. “For this kind of positive change, Democrats must come out and vote for every candidate on the ballot with a Democrat next to their name.”