With hurricane season approaching, it would make sense for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' study on how to best protect Houston from hurricanes to be completed, you know, pretty soon. That's why Senator John Cornyn is introducing legislation to expedite that process.
According to a press release issued yesterday, Cornyn's Corps’ Obligation to Assist in Safeguarding Texas (COAST) Act will speed up the Corps of Engineers' study so that it can get a faster start on a federally funded coastal protection project along the Texas Gulf Coast.
"Texans along our coast live under the constant threat of weather-related devastation to their homes, their livelihoods, and their communities,” Cornyn said in the press release. “By reducing inefficiency and eliminating duplication, we can speed up the Army Corps’ process to ultimately help bring families, businesses, and communities along the coast the peace of mind they deserve.”
Cornyn's legislation comes on the heels of Houston's second 100-year flood in two years, and also a massive investigation published by the Texas Tribune and ProPublica in March, which pointed out how woefully unprepared Houston is for a big hurricane. As the Tribune wrote, a particularly strong storm could "devastate the Houston Ship Channel, shuttering one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes," and "virtually wipe out the Clear Lake area."
Efforts to better protect the area have been slow-moving. According to the Tribune, the Corps' study, which began earlier this year, isn't expected to be completed for another five years. Of course, even if Cornyn's bill gets passed and that timeline moves up, any actual construction resulting from the study would take years to complete. Hopefully we don't get hit with a huge hurricane anytime soon.
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