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County Attorney informs CHIC environmentalists

By Allan Jamail

Channelview, TX. – June 24, 2021 at the Channelview Fire Department on Dell Dale, Harris County residents gathered to learn how they can get pollution concerns addressed. Organizers of the newly formed Channelview Health & Improvement Coalition (C.H.I.C.) had Bethany Dwyer, Asst. Attorney Environmental Harris County Attorney’s Office (CAO), as their guest speaker.

Dwyer explained what’s needed to successfully present a case in court against environmental violators. She presented an exceptionally informative slide show which thoroughly educated the attendees on the step by step process of how to file a complaint. She explained the need for complainants to gather and document valuable evidence on the violators that’ll give the CAO proof enough to be successful in court proceedings. Violations can be reported by calling: CAO: 713-755-5101.

For an emergency with a chemical spill, odor, or fire, call the Channelview Fire Department: 911.

C.H.I.C. has organized in a continuing effort by residents to share information, to educate others and to work with governing and other agencies to address issues impacting Channelview, to bring awareness and to document, prevent and improve the issues and conditions affecting residents.

Upcoming C.H.I.C. meeting dates: July 22nd, August 26th, September 23rd, October 28th, November 18th, December 16th. For information or to join email: c.h.i.c.77530@gmail.com

Attendees came from all over east Harris County and the North Channel area including Crosby, Baytown, Channelview, Jacinto City and Houston. Linda Jamail, Community Liaison of State Rep. Ana Hernandez’s office, Cindy Miller, Community Liaison Pct. 2 Comm. Adrian Garcia’s office, Rep’s of East Harris County Empowerment Council, Channelview Fire Dept., Rep’s of Harris County Pollution Control Dept.

Recent CAO news: On July 12, 2021 at a public comment session hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Harris County Attorney Christian D. Menefee proposed reinstatement of chemical disaster rules rolled back by the Trump administration, and enhancing rules to address Harris County’s unique vulnerability to chemical disasters.

Menefee said Harris County has the largest petrochemical complex in the U.S. and a history of severe weather events. “We’re vulnerable to large scale chemical disasters that impact residents.” He also proposed additional enhancements to the rules, including expanding the list of chemicals covered by the rules, requiring facilities to have safety plans in place to endure severe weather, and improving coordination with first responders.

President Obama’s administration’s EPA had imposed several rules in response to the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas. In 2019, the Trump administration rolled back many of these commonsense requirements, including requiring chemical companies to determine the root cause of spills and explosions, and training requirements for chemical plant supervisors. In response, Harris County, 14 states, and two cities sued the Trump administration to invalidate the rollbacks. Harris County was the only governmental entity in Texas involved in the lawsuit. The entire County Attorney’s press release can be found at: https://cao.harriscountytx.gov/