Days before Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, Donald Trump signed an executive order that eliminated flood protection measures put in place by former President Obama.
During the now-notorious Infrastructure Speech Gone Awry, Trump announced, “We’re going to get infrastructure built quickly, inexpensively, relatively speaking, and the permitting process will go very, very quickly. It’s going to be a very streamlined process, and by the way, if it doesn’t meet environmental safeguards, we’re not going to approve it.”
Tolentino Hurricane Harvey Public Private Disaster Houston
In anticipation of Trump’s executive order, Rachel Cleetus – lead economist and climate policy manager at the Union of Concerned Scientists – released the following statement:
“By rolling back the updated federal flood risk management standard, the Trump administration would be putting vital infrastructure that communities around the country depend on in harm’s way. This executive order will raise the risk of costly and harmful damages from floods. Additionally, taxpayer dollars will likely be wasted through investments in projects that could be washed away in the next storm.
Federal agencies are already in the process of determining how to implement the updated standards. They were informed by robust stakeholder input and established to protect critical infrastructure that communities depend on for years to come.
With sea level rise and heavy rainfall contributing to growing flood risks in countless areas across the nation, it makes no sense to turn back progress on greater flood protections.”
Hurricane Harvey made landfall on August 25th, 2017, just ten days after Cleetus issued the above warning. Trump gave his “Infrastructure Speech” the same day. But with at least 14 dead, many still awaiting rescue, damages in the tens of billions of dollars, and unknown impact to domestic energy — will President Trump come around?