Trump: “Texas Made a Fortune on Hurricane Harvey”

October 21, 2019

Just subbed the Houston Chronicle, so as to have a better window on the collapse of the Oil industry.  Turns out it’s a great paper with a wealth of stories.

Houston Chronicle:

President Donald Trump called a potential coastal spine system to protect Houston and its shipping channels a “crazy thing” and scoffed at the price tag on Thursday.

During his campaign rally at the American Airline Center in Dallas, Trump said he gave billions and billions of dollars already to the state for Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts.

“You made a fortune on the hurricane,” Trump said of Hurricane Harvey, which devastated Houston and much of Southeast Texas in 2017, killing more than 100 people and destroying or damaging more than 100,000 homes.

But Trump — speaking with a smile as the crowd laughed — said all that money that wasn’t enough for U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn and state officials such as Gov. Greg Abbott, whom he said came to him asking for more.

“‘Sir, we want one more small request,’” Trump said recalling the conversations. “‘It’s not much and we appreciate you listening to us. We want to build a dam in the ocean.’”

Trump said he asked them how much it would cost.

“They say it’s only $10 billion, I’m supposed to be happy,” Trump said. “Oh, let’s see can we give Texas an extra $10 billion for some crazy thing that may work or it may not?”

Since Hurricane Ike hit Texas in 2008, state and federal officials have been studying the idea of a 70-mile coastal barrier aimed at protecting Houston’s shipping channel from hurricanes. Often called the Ike Dike, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has estimated it could cost up to $31 billion to build.


The “dam” Mr Trump is talking about is a massive barrier designed to protect the Houston/Galveston area from increasing storm damage as sea level rises.

Video below describes what is at risk as Hurricane surges rise. Specs on the Coastal Barrier start at about 7:08.

Texas A&M Galveston:

Hurricane Ike’s death and destruction vividly pointed out the need for protection from hurricane storm surge in the Houston-Galveston region. And, as bad as Ike was, we who live and work around Galveston Bay dodged a bullet. Before Ike hit, the forecast predicted a 25 foot storm surges up Galveston Bay. We were looking at possibly a $100 Billion hurricane, which could have killed hundreds, left thousands homeless and jobless and devastated the nation’s largest petrochemical complex and crippled its busiest port.

This terrible scenario can be prevented. We can apply best practices and existing technologies used in the Netherlands and New Orleans to protect our region. The coastal spine concept is the approach the Dutch used after their 1953 surge disaster. They shortened their coast by combining barriers and gates to keep surge out of internal waters. They shared their methods with New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and today New Orleans has the Greater New Orleans Barrier that protects the city from storm surge. We are using that knowledge here as a solution to protect the Galveston-Houston area.


Expect more and more urgent cries for help and protection around the coast as we go forward.  Ironically in this case it is the oil and gas industry that is seeking protection from a problem that they are actively engaged in making worse, while denying their responsibility.

Note this week’s new video – as hurricanes like Harvey become more common, dumping enormous amounts of rain in restricted areas – protections against storm surge, while necessary, will not be enough.


6 Responses to “Trump: “Texas Made a Fortune on Hurricane Harvey””

  1. Agree that The Houston Chronical is a good newspaper. I am also dubious about a coastal wall in the long term but it isn’t anywhere near as useless as The Mango Mussolini’s border wall – especially over the next 30 years.

  2. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    This expensive barrier is exactly the sort of thing that Richard Alley warned about. This proposed barrier:
    – Is longer than the Netherlands, Venice and London have established.
    – Is in an area frequented by ever-stronger hurricanes.
    – Involves a measly 4 foot raising of the sea wall
    – Wouldn’t have helped with the rainbombs of Harvey and Imelda
    – Has an active component which needs political decisions to operate
    – Will be expensive to maintain.

    And $5.8 billion is an absolute joke.

    Who will pay for it? Anybody who can move out of threatened areas will, and the area will be left to the poor who have no options.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      ETA: Independent of global sea level rise, the Gulf Coast tends to slump slowly into the gulf. Damming of many of Texas’ rivers has meant there’s less sediment moving to the coast, so the natural slump has been accelerating. Now add ocean expansion and more coast-eating storms, and Texas will be getting higher than average SLR (though not as bad as the US Atlantic seaboard).

  3. redskylite Says:

    I’ve recently taken to checking out media sources using mediabiasfactcheck . com, to avoid extreme left/right publications, plus fake news, and the Houston Chronicle checks out well.

    Analysis / Bias

    In review, the Houston Chronicle covers local news via journalists and national/international news through the Associated Press. There is minimal use of loaded language in news coverage and all information is properly sourced.

    A factual search reveals the Houston Chronicle has not failed a fact check by an IFCN fact checker.

    Overall, we rate the Houston Chronicle Left-Center biased based on editorial position and High for factual reporting. (5/16/2016) Updated (D. Van Zandt 11/14/2018)

  4. redskylite Says:

    Maybe we should listen to the wisdom of traditional Indian fishermen, before embarking on large expensive barriers .. .

    India now, where next ?

    I don’t think there is any device made by humans that would be able to control and capture the energy of ocean waves.

    “Sand bags or erosion control bags couldn’t save my house from the high and strong waves,” he told Al Jazeera. “In a single moment, a huge and strong wave, almost eight metres high, entered into my house from the front door and swallowed two front rooms.

    “It was horrible experience for all of us. Along with my house, 27 others in our village were swallowed by the waves.”

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