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Abbott says state and EPA have found no toxic threat yet from Harvey

Austin American-Statesman - 9/5/2017

Sept. 05--Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday that at present, the state has no knowledge of any state or federal toxic waste sites, flooded by Hurricane Harvey, that pose a health risk to Texans.

Abbott, in a morning briefing at the state emergency operations center on North Lamar Boulevard, said the EPA had 33 Superfund sites in the affected area and were monitoring 11 sites that had flooded and constituted the most peril, but had not found that any of those sites, "pose any danger to the public that is known at this time."

Abbott said that Texas had 17 hazardous waste sites in the area, had inspected five and had 12 more to inspect as soon as it can, and of those, one remained flooded -- the International Creosoting site adjacent to Interstate 10 and Brakes Bayou in Jefferson County -- but that none appears at this time to pose a risk.

"Both the EPA and the state are working closely and collaboratively," he said, to monitor the Texas sites and make sure the public health is not imperiled.

Abbott left the operations center to head to Wharton County and Beaumont to get a briefing on conditions there.

He will visit Rockport and Port Aransas later in the week.

Abbott reported Monday night that FEMA had granted his request for community disaster loan assistance for Texas localities impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Texas cities currently recovering from the storm can now receive funding to help maintain their operating budgets and continue their full operations while also focusing on rebuilding their communities.

"The quick and focused work of our federal partners in response to Hurricane Harvey has been essential to the recovery effort in Texas," said Abbott. "These loans are critical to providing cities with the resources and flexibility to recover while still providing important services to the Texans in their communities. I look forward to our continued work with the federal government and thank them for their help on behalf of the victims of this storm."


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