Hurricane Laura brings renewed pitch for Ike Dike

by | Sep 3, 2020 | Opinion

As thousands fled southeast Texas ahead of Hurricane Laura, Texas A&M promoted an Ike Dike as a critical way to protect the region from devas­tating damage.

Texas escaped a direct hit from Laura, which made land­fall as a Category 4 storm in Cameron Parish, Louisiana, just east of Port Arthur. De­spite the state’s luck this time, Texas A&M marine scientists urged action on their proposal to build a series of barriers, le­vees and gates that would close off Galveston Bay from storm surge.

William Merrell, a profes­sor at Texas A&M-Galveston and a former president of the school, helped develop the plan after Hurricane Ike devastated Galveston in 2008, resulting in $30 billion in damages and kill­ing more than 50 people.

Cost estimates for the Ike Dike range from $10 billion to $20 billion. The Army Corps of Engineers and Texas General Land Office are finishing a ma­jor feasibility study for the Tex­as Coast that includes a coastal surge protection plan that incor­porates many features of the Ike Dike. The plan is expected to be available for public comment starting in late October and in final form by next spring.

The forecast for the massive project is a lot farther off than the next hurricane during an ac­tive season. Congressional ap­proval and matching local funds are still needed.

A&M officials say the invest­ment is well worth it to protect about 6 million people and pre­vent $100 billion in damages from a direct hit.

“The Ike Dike would work, I am sure of it,” Merrell said in a news release. “If you stop the storm surge at the coast, you protect everyone – Galveston, Houston, everybody.

“Obviously this is a very busy and probably record-breaking season – I believe it’s the fifth above-average season in a row. There are theories that suggest that in the future, we might get more major hurricanes and that there are now many more in­tense rainfall events. Also, there is evidence that many storms are slowing down as they ap­proach the coast – more flood­ing and longer duration surges. The flooding threat is getting worse and worse.”

Remember the Alamo

Operators of the Alamo are looking for the public’s support to preserve Texas’ historical landmark.

Texans are being urged to contact their lawmakers on be­half of the Alamo Plan, which would preserve the Alamo Church and Long Barrack, re­claim the historic battlefield, re­locate the Cenotaph and build a new visitor center and museum.

The renovations are projected to cost $450 million and are be­ing supported by the city of San Antonio and the nonprofit Ala­mo Trust, which is overseen by the Texas General Land Office.

As part of the plan, Alamo of­ficials are seeking a permit from the Texas Historical Commis­sion to allow for disassembly, repair and reassembly of the Cenotaph 500 feet from its ex­isting location. The commission meeting is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 22, but details are not yet confirmed.

Some politicians and oth­ers have opposed the renova­tion plan and, in particular, the relocation of the Cenotaph, a 60-foot-tall monument added to the site in the 1930s.

“The Alamo walls need your support if they are to continue to stand,” the Alamo officials wrote last week in an email to supporters directing them to supporthealamoplan.com. “Write a letter and tell our Tex­as officials to act now to support the only plan that will make sure that future generations of Tex­ans will Remember the Alamo!”

Pumped up in Fort Worth

Convenience store retailer Yesway is planning a new way that will move its headquarters to Fort Worth.

Yesway, which bought All­sup’s 304 stores last year, is clos­ing its three offices in Abilene, Texas; Des Moines, Iowa; and Clovis, N.M., to consolidate its operations in Fort Worth.

Yesway has 407 stores in Texas, Iowa, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. The company said it plans to grow to more than 600 convenience stores during the next several years.

The long and meandering

boundary

Texans are known for their fanciful language, but this can lead to confusion when it comes to divvying up water rights.

Charles Perry, chairman of the Senate Committee on Wa­ter and Rural Affairs, is seeking clarity from the Office of Attor­ney General about what “me­anders” meant to lawmakers in 1951.

The Legislature created the High Plains Underground Wa­ter Conservation District with a boundary “along the mean­ders of the caprock” of the High Plains Escarpment, which de­scribes the geographical tran­sition point between the flat ground and the surrounding rolling terrain.

The meandering definition has led to a dispute between the High Plains water district in Potter County and the neigh­boring Panhandle Groundwater Conservation District, accord­ing to Perry, a Republican who represents Senate District 28 in West Texas.

Presumably, an AG decision can mend the fissure.

For more stories like this, see Sept. 3 issue or subscribe online.

By Chris Cobler, board member and past president of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas. • [email protected]

0 Comments

Related News

Rural America needs sound, predictable tax policy

Rural America needs sound, predictable tax policy

They say that nothing is certain in life ex­cept death and taxes. While those two certainties are undeniable, we need to make sure that family-owned busi­nesses, including farms and ranches, aren’t taxed to death. Texas boasts more than 248,000 farming and ranch­ing...

read more
Absent lawmakers stymie special session

Absent lawmakers stymie special session

Nearly 60 Texas House Democrats left the state last Monday for Washington, D.C. in an effort to stop passage of a Republican-led elections bill. This in effect blocks all legislation since the House doesn’t have a quorum present. As the Austin Ameri­can Statesman and...

read more
We’re global now

We’re global now

No matter how hard we try, we really can’t avoid one another. We live in a world where what takes place some­where else on the globe has a very good chance of affecting us, along with many others. The pandemic, of course, is a useful – if sobering – ex­ample. A virus...

read more
Texans urged to roll up their sleeves

Texans urged to roll up their sleeves

Gov. Greg Abbott and other Texas leaders are rolling up their sleeves to get the COVID-19 vaccine and to encourage the public to follow suit. “I will never ask any Texan to do something that I’m not willing to do myself,” Abbott said before getting vaccinated at a...

read more
Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus

Frances Pharcellus Church – New York Sun – 9/21/1897 “DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old. “Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. “Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’“Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus? “VIRGINIA O’HANLON.“115 WEST...

read more
Get your flu shot, governor says

Get your flu shot, governor says

While scientists race to develop a CO­VID-19 vaccine, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is urg­ing everyone to get a flu shot. Texans need to do their part to keep moving forward the state’s recovery from the pan­demic, the governor said. Last week, he also eased restrictions...

read more
Pandemic messes with Texas, prompts new message

Pandemic messes with Texas, prompts new message

Even during a pandemic, it’s best to not mess with Texas. Texas Department of Trans­portation officials noticed more personal protective equipment -- face masks, wipes and gloves -- on the side of roads and high­ways, so they called in the big guns for a new round of...

read more
High-tech Lincoln Logs turn heads in Texas

High-tech Lincoln Logs turn heads in Texas

Trees are almost as old as dirt in the con­struction industry, but they’re new to Texas in the form of the state’s first mass timber office building. The Texas project generat­ing the buzz is The Soto, which opened last week at Eighth and Broadway streets in San...

read more