A mere 19 months after Hurricane Ike treated the upper Texas coast like its musical namesake used to treat Tina, the Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District is holding their first planning session:
Galveston County is joined by Harris, Brazoria, Chambers, Jefferson and Orange counties in the Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District that will be responsible for devising storm surge protection strategies, then lobbying the state and federal governments to help fund construction.
The district will not have taxing authority and cannot commit its members to funding of specific projects, consortium officials said. The district also will serve as a combined voice for Upper Texas Coast communities for post-hurricane recovery, such as lobbying for federal and state disaster funds including community development block grant dollars.
While the Ike Dike plan proposed by Texas A&M University at Galveston professor Bill Merrill has gained much of the attention when it comes to ways to protect the coast from a massive storm surge as was produced by Hurricane Ike in 2008, the proposals will go way beyond that, Galveston County Judge Jim Yarbrough said.
"We are looking at some sort of levee system that would run from the (Texas/Louisiana) state line all the way down the coast to past Freeport," Yarbrough said.
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Freeport, eh? Guess that's TS for Matagorda Bay. But why stop at a 150-mile long levee system? Since the Recovery District has "no taxing authority," the sky's really the limit when it comes to proposing goofy anti-hurricane schemes. How about digging an 8,000 foot drain into the continental shelf? Deploying giant sponges from the Seawall? Hiring Aquaman to coerce a couple thousand whales to beach themselves on Galveston Island and create a blubbery first line of defense? People's lives are at stake, for crying out loud.