by Graham Pierrepoint
Headlines worldwide are currently gripped by the unfurling disaster that is Hurricane Harvey, which is currently barraging southern US citizens and resulting in mass rescue attempts amid horrendous flooding – it is thought to be causing unprecedented damage in the state of Texas, where property damage is skyrocketing into the billions of dollars, and where 30 inches of rain has fallen in just a 48-hour period. It’s thought to have brought certain industry to a standstill, and news video and photography show just how intense the rescue mission currently is – as families struggle to work through rising waters amid a cyclone that is still very much active.
It’s thought, however, that certain bolsters for flood defense may be taken away in future – as just days before the disaster hit Texas, President Trump took action to sign an executive order which overwrote some provisions set up by previous President Barack Obama. This order actively removes provisions for certain flood standards – which were previously brought up two years ago to make it more difficult for certain building projects to go ahead in areas assumed to be susceptible to flooding. It’s thought that climate change – something President Trump has famously fought back against – was one of many factors to be taken into account should such building have needed to go ahead.
The restrictions proposed by Obama were not yet enshrined in law – but Trump has effectively removed such chances of them reappearing. Trump’s decision is based, according to the man himself, on the fact that he wishes for infrastructure building to speed up. “If it doesn’t meet environmental safeguards, we’re not going to approve it,” Trump was quoted as saying earlier this month – however, two such safety provisions have now been removed entirely. Environmentalists aren’t happy – and while the relaxing of Obama’s restrictions have been welcomed by industry, the disaster in Texas goes to show that we should perhaps be focusing more on protecting our current settlements.
Hurricane Harvey continues to ravage southern America and it is thought that the rescue tally reaches into the thousands – with the tropical storm thought to be one of the most devastating in-land cyclone disasters in recent history. For the President, too, his actions with regard to the disaster will be watched – just as George W Bush’s actions were scrutinized during Hurricane Katrina all those years ago.