HOUSTON, Tx. — Like it or not, living in Houston means living with refineries and chemical storage plants in your backyard. And the possibility that something might go wrong. And while explosions rare, if there’s anything we’ve learned in the last few years it’s that what you don’t know can hurt you.
“I would say the majority of the greater Houston area is vulnerable at some level and in some areas the overlapping vulnerabilities was shocking,” says Sean Moulton with t he Center for Effective Government. The center has created an interactive map on their website of facility locations and potential impact zones across america in the event of a catastrophe. And Houston, we have a problem.
According to the center’s research, nearly 20 million children in 48 states across the country go to schools located in the fallout zones of potentially dangerous chemical facilities. The worst of the worst right here.
“The school inside the most vulnerability zones was outside Houston in Deer Park, Texas,” Moulton says. “The San Jacinto Elementary School is in 41 different vulnerability zones at the same time.” Even in a town built on energy, that’s enough to get your attention.
“If they blow up, we’re all doomed,” Deer Park Resident Barbara Baron told us, “we’re going with them.”
Lisa Kent put it this way: “I’ve lived here forty-plus years and it stinks and there ain’t really much we can do about it.”
And while the Center for Effective Government says it wouldn’t take much for many of the plants in the Houston area to switch to safer chemicals and better monitoring, the onus is on us make them do it.