On May 3, 2019, County Judge Lina Hidalgo took stock of the Deer Park fire and published an op-ed on environmental safety in the Houston Chronicle. In the long term, she says,

we will undertake the monumental task of overhauling a system that for far too long has neglected environmental safety. This will require building up understaffed agencies and improving outdated technology for air monitoring.

That the article makes environmental safety an issue is laudable. But environmental safety does not end at monitoring air quality. Instead it must include protection from the disastrous consequences of storm surge in the Houston Ship Channel.

Hidalgo says that

we must never lose sight of the fact that a clean environment, air, and water, are human rights. And it is up to us to protect them.

These ideals are great. Let’s use them to lead the county into a new era of storm surge protection.