Friday, August 25, 2017

Hurricane Harvey, Catastrophe, Car- and Gas-dependence

Writing at Grist:
About one-third of U.S. refining capacity lies in the path of Harvey, and operators are starting to shutter operations in advance of the storm. Any sustained outages could cause a temporary nationwide surge in gasoline prices. Patrick DeHaan, an oil industry analyst, told Grist that catastrophic flooding could prevent refiners from getting back online quickly.
Deepwater Horizon
As Emily Atkin writes in the New Republic, the pollution consequences of the storm could be immense. Harvey’s floodwaters could seep into massive underground gasoline storage facilities, potentially dislodging and floating the tanks.
These are costs of our autoism, all exacerbated by the drive for cheap gas.

And another strong reason to stop digging in on more auto capacity, and to work instead on increasing mobility that doesn't depend on gasoline and drive-alone trips.
Presentation to Oversight Team in 2014

We should embrace these standards more passionately


Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

ProPublica and The Texas Tribune last year published a piece on the relation between loose land use regulations, development standards, and flooding.

"As millions have flocked to the metropolitan area in recent decades, local officials have largely snubbed stricter building regulations, allowing developers to pave over crucial acres of prairie land that once absorbed huge amounts of rainwater. That has led to an excess of floodwater during storms that chokes the city’s vast bayou network, drainage systems and two huge federally owned reservoirs, endangering many nearby homes....

On top of that, scientists say climate change is causing torrential rainfall to happen more often, meaning storms that used to be considered “once-in-a-lifetime” events are happening with greater frequency

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Leaning on the fact that wetlands could absorb billions, but not trillions of gallons, a 1000x difference, three orders of magnitude, Strong Towns pushes back on making links between land use and the catastrophic severity of Harvey in particular (as opposed to episodes of more "ordinary" flooding).

"Houston isn't flooded because of its land use planning"


"Piling On Houston"

Anonymous said...

And now a pivot:

"Houston’s lack of zoning could prove to be an advantage when it comes to recovering and rebuilding in a sustainable way....Houston’s unique, hands-off approach means that building dense new housing in the city is easy."

I guess that's lemonade out of lemons...