This Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists/MIT analysis shows that almost 4,900 sites that handle toxic chemicals sit in flood-prone areas of Texas and Louisiana, posing a catastrophic environmental threat if a major hurricane hits the wrong place. Which it inevitably will. The government’s current plan to protect Gulf Coast infrastructure—the $29 billion Ike Dike, which would harden 70 miles of Texas coastline with artificial dunes, huge gates, and a new sea wall that wraps around the city of Galveston—will simply not stand up to the major storms that are its raison d’etre, experts say. If the big one hits the Houston Ship Channel head on, LSU researcher John Pardue says, “It really is a potential Chernobyl, The Houston area has such a large number of tanks and the potential for so many chemical releases all at once.”
The full story (with interactive maps showing flood-endangered industrial sites and the chemicals they contain) is here.