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Battered, Flooded, Submerged: Superfund Sites Threatened by Climate Change

“The Obama administration directed the EPA to focus on climate-related threats. Now, the Trump administration refuses to even use the word.”

“BARRETT, Texas—Fred Barrett thought he'd wait out Hurricane Harvey at his home in this town outside Houston, founded by his great-grandfather in 1889. He prepared for heavy rain, wind and flooding.

But when the murky brown San Jacinto River jumped its banks, flooding Barrett's neighbors and an ominous cluster of four hazardous waste Superfund sites nearby, Barrett worried the catastrophic 2017 storm could fill his community with deadly toxins.

The most notorious of the sites, the San Jacinto Waste Pits, was smashed by 16 feet of water that undermined a concrete cap covering the site's toxic contents, washing dioxin downriver. A dive team from the Environmental Protection Agency later found the potent human carcinogen in river sediment at 2,300 times the agency's standard for cleanup.”

David Hasemyer reports for InsideClimate News and Lise Olsen reports for the Texas Observer September 24, 2020.


“MAP: See The Toxic Sites Near You That Are Threatened By Climate Change” (NBC News)