Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt got his first-hand look over the weekend at the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas.
He toured the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund site on Friday and got a briefing from on-the-ground EPA response personnel. While he toured the site, an EPA dive team carried out underwater inspections at the site that encompasses a group of impoundments holding 1960s-era paper mill waste.
“EPA remains committed to providing the necessary resources and personnel to ensure those affected by the devastation of Hurricane Harvey receive proper Agency attention,” said Administrator Pruitt. “We continue to work closely with our federal, state, and local partners to ensure Superfund sites are being properly secured, fuel prices remain stabilized, and infrastructure and environmental assessments are thoroughly carried out.”
Afterward, Pruitt received an aerial tour of other affected Superfund sites in the region by the U.S. Coast Guard. The sites included: Patrick Bayou, U.S. Oil Recovery, the San Jacinto River Waste Pits, Highlands Acid Pits, French Unlimited, Brio Refining and Dixie Oil Processors.
FEMA officials as well as Acting Regional EPA Administrator for Region 6 Samuel Coleman and Bryan Shaw, chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality joined Pruitt for the tour and briefing.
After his visit, Pruitt promised his agency would make a final decision on remediation of the site before mid-October.
“So as we look to answers here, they need to be permanent, they need to provide confidence with the people of this area that it’s going to be for the long haul and we fix this situation, so that anxiety goes away,” he told a local TV station.