Monday, August 15, 2022


President Biden this week is poised to sign into law sweeping legislation that addresses climate change and prescription drug costs; Measuring the Supreme Court abortion decision's impact in the corporate world; Disaster recovery for Eastern Kentucky businesses.


Federal officials warn about threats against law enforcement; Democrats push their climate, health, and tax bill through Congress; and a new report reveals 800 Americans were evacuated during the Afghanistan withdrawal.


Infrastructure funding is on its way, ranchers anticipate money from the Inflation Reduction Act, and rural America is becoming more diverse, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the leadership.

Texas Improves Flood Preparedness After Hurricane Harvey


Friday, June 28, 2019   

HOUSTON – The State of Texas, still reeling from damage from Hurricane Harvey and other recent storms, has taken a major step toward improving its flood preparedness.

Two years ago, the Category Four storm left 89 people dead and caused some $125 billion in damage along the Texas coast. In its first opportunity to deal with the unprecedented disaster, the Texas Legislature approved, and Gov. Greg Abbott signed, a package of bills this year to improve the state's readiness for disaster events.

State Rep. Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, who sponsored several bills to update and modernize the state's planning process, says an overhaul was overdue.

"I was seeing some of my local governments doing it the way we've always done it – each drainage district doing their own thing, each city was doing their own thing – and that just wasn't going to work,” says Phelan. “We need to approach flooding from a regional standpoint, a holistic standpoint. Water does not respect political boundaries."

Lawmakers approved one bill (Senate Bill 7) to tap the state's Rainy-Day Fund – essentially its savings account – for $800 million to finance flood mitigation projects. Another measure (SB 8) requires the state's first flood plan developed using regional watersheds. A third bill (SB 339) strengthens disclosure requirements to better inform potential buyers of a property's flood history.

The new plan will require pre-disaster mitigation projects, such as elevating homes that have flooded repeatedly and removing vulnerable structures from flood plains. It will also ensure that funding is available to restore natural areas that absorb floodwaters, like wetlands, salt marshes and streams.

Laura Lightbody, director of the Flood-Prepared Communities project at The Pew Charitable Trusts, says these types of programs should pay major dividends for the state over time.

"These required watershed-level plans are really important,” says Lightbody. “How do we take a big picture look at our community, and our development and our footprint, to understand how to avoid these future losses next time we see a big flood event?"

Lightbody says research shows that governments generally save $6 in future losses for every dollar spent on pre-disaster mitigation.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

get more stories like this via email

In 2021, damages from floods and other severe weather in the United States exceeded $145 billion. (Adobe Stock)


In the wake of historic summer floods in the Midwest and Appalachia, there are calls for a new national plan to reduce risks from disasters. The …

Social Issues

Small businesses that suffered damage or destruction from the recent historic flooding in Eastern Kentucky can get one-on-one assistance as they try t…


The Inflation Reduction Act, newly passed by the U.S. Senate, allocates $369 Billion to fight climate change, and appropriates funds specifically for …

Social Issues

By Linda Burstyn for Ms. Magazine Broadcast version by Roz Brown for New Mexico News Connection/Public News Service Bad Business: Anti-abortion …

In Pennsylvania's Nov. 8 General Election, voters will decide races for governor, U.S. House and Senate, and several state offices. (Zimmytws/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Opening up Pennsylvania's primary elections to voters who aren't registered either as Democrats or Republicans is the topic of a State House of Repres…

Social Issues

August is National Black Business Month, and this year, for Black-owned companies in Pennsylvania that have managed to survive through the pandemic…

Social Issues

On August 27, members of the public will have a rare opportunity to visit the historic Padlock Ranch first developed for livestock in 1867, now …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021