With our changing climate comes more powerful storms, rising sea levels, and the subsequent flooding from storm surges. What were once freak incidents and “natural disasters” are now going to be a more common occurrence and the result is that the U.S. needs to spend big bucks in order to protect our infrastructure. During this time, the fossil fuel industry and the politicians they pay off continue to drill and extract and exacerbate the rising temperatures that lead to the emergency need for strengthening our infrastructure. There is also no shortage of evidence that oil companies like Exxon Mobil full well knew, for decades, their business’s part in accelerating climate change via CO2 emissions—and instead of spending money to create a more environmentally friendly way of creating energy and profits, they spent that money on quackery in order to sow the seeds of doubt about the very nature of climate change.
The higher tides now expected in places like Texas’s Gulf Coast means that something’s gotta give. A new 60-mile, infrastructure project has been proposed. It would buttress and reinforce Texas’s seawalls, and include “floating gates,” and “steel levees.” The AP reports that it would cost “at least $12 billion for the full coastal spine, with nearly all of it coming from public funds.”
Here’s an interesting tidbit.
The plan is focused on a stretch of coastline that runs from the Louisiana border to industrial enclaves south of Houston that are home to one of the world’s largest concentrations of petrochemical facilities, including most of Texas’ 30 refineries, which represent 30 percent of the nation’s refining capacity.
As the sea levels rise, the general amount of flooding damage from storm surge increases not only because of big and terrible storms but because the general erosion to coastlines increases extraordinarily. The costs to the real estate industry will be in the tens of billions of dollars. And so far, Texas has already sent almost $4 billion of that money to protect “specifically” oil refineries. Meanwhile, within the last year, craven Republican Party officials have argued out of either sheer corruption or stupidity that the problems of rising sea levels have nothing to do with climate change, let alone manmade climate change. Now, oil companies want Americans to foot the bill for their shortsighted and greedy business model.
“The oil and gas industry is getting a free ride,” said Brandt Mannchen, a member of the Sierra Club’s executive committee in Houston. “You don’t hear the industry making a peep about paying for any of this and why should they? There’s all this push like, ‘Please Senator Cornyn, Please Senator Cruz, we need money for this and that.’”
Texas, filled with climate-denying politicians who are greasy with oil money, has followed the same example of corrupt lawmaking that oil shill Scott Pruitt brought to the EPA. Throw obstacles in the way of scientific inquiry, take the protections away from the fossil fuel industry, get that money, and then let the tax payer clean it up when they can’t breath. The rising sea levels has been known for a very long time. And for a very long time the conservatives in government have legislatively put their heads in the sand; and by “sand” I mean their “ass.”