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Lone Star Project Report

Harvey Cleanup Hampered by Abbott’s Chemical Negligence

Photo-ops and self-promoting tweets won’t undo damage caused by Greg Abbott allowing companies to hide hazardous chemicals

If things weren’t bad enough for Texas families dealing with wind, water and other property damage arising from the worst flood in our nation’s history, they must face another extraordinary hazard – this one made much worse by Greg Abbott.
 
Hazardous chemicals from damaged commercial facilities threaten to contaminate the air, water and ground posing a grave danger to homes and families in Hurricane Harvey’s path.  Because of the irresponsible move by Greg Abbott to let companies conceal the types and amounts of hazardous chemicals they store, the level of danger is largely unknown.  If a deadly chemical contamination occurs, its discovery and containment could take longer and impose a more serious danger due to the lack of reliable information caused by Abbott.
 
Back story:  Abbott killed the rule requiring companies to disclose dangerous chemical inventories
Following the deadly fertilizer plant explosion in West, TX, then Attorney General Greg Abbott waived the chemical disclosure rule.  Incredibly, Abbott’s reaction to a chemical explosion that killed 15 Texans, was to let companies hide their chemical inventories, even if they were in the same area as a school, a church or a daycare center. 
 
Now Harvey victims face an Abbott-made danger
Fast forward four years after facilities throughout the Texas coastal region have been flooded by Hurricane Harvey’s record rainfall.  At least one explosion and chemical fire has already hospitalized police officers and first responders overcome by toxic fumes.  
 
Families all along the hurricane’s path are threatened, but the level of threat and the degree of danger is unknown due to Greg Abbott’s negligence.  A local Houston area resident told the Houston Chronicle after the explosion, “You don't know what's in there…You don't know what's in the air. Their time for keeping secrets is up."
 
Why did Abbott ignore the health and safety of Texas families? 
Abbott’s move to waive the chemical disclosure rule goes beyond incompetence.  It is an extension of his long history of doling out favors to current and potential donors at the expense of Texans.

This morning, the Texas Tribune reported that from 2013-2016, 21% of Abbott’s campaign contributions came from the oil and gas industry and an additional $700,000 has come from the chemical industry.
 
While chemical companies get cover from Abbott, Democrats secure Harvey recovery funds 
Ironically, while Abbott has been taking advantage of photo ops and tweeting about himself during the Hurricane recovery, the Democratic leaders in Washington moved to make sure federal funds get to Texans quickly to help with recovery.