“It’s not rocket science to understand that disasters exacerbate inequality. Those communities that struggled before the storm are still struggling after.”
This week marks six months since Hurricane Harvey caused historic flooding in Houston, Texas, the most diverse city in the nation and one of its largest. Houston is also home to the largest refining and petrochemical complex in the country.
As federal money for rebuilding trickles in, Houston’s chief “recovery czar” is the president of Shell Oil, Marvin Odum, whose past experience includes rebuilding Shell’s oil and gas facilities after Hurricane Katrina.
Meanwhile, immigrants and fenceline communities who suffer from pollution along Houston’s industrial corridor are still largely absent from much of the discussion about how the city plans to recover.
“It’s not rocket science to understand that disasters exacerbate inequality. Those communities that struggled before the storm are still struggling after,” Robert Bullard, the scholar/activist and recognized”father” of environmental justice, told Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez.
“On the east side, the communities flooded with chemicals every day,” said Bryan Parras of the Sierra Club and TEJAS. “And we saw an upsurge of that before the storm, during the storm, and after the storm.”
“There’s still that invisible side of Houston that has historically gotten left behind,” said Bullard. “That’s where we have a large segment of our community that is still waiting and suffering. That’s the sad thing about it; it’s slipped off the radar.”
For more, we host a roundtable discussion with Dr. Robert Bullard, the “father of environmental justice”; Bryan Parras of the Sierra Club; undocumented immigrant activist Cesar Espinosa; and Goldman Environmental Prize winner Hilton Kelley in Port Arthur, Texas.
Originally published at Democracy Now! under Creative Commons license.