Houston, we have a problem

Donald Trump has acknowledged the disaster that is flooded Houston and even visited the area to reassure the populace.

“To the people affected by Hurricane Harvey, we are with you every single step of the way. We will help you recover, we will help you rebuild, we will support you today, tomorrow and the day after.”

He said that on August 25th, so I suppose the offer has run its course by now.

Several sources have noted the irony that Trump managed to rollback Obama’s efforts to fortify America’s infrastructure against just this sort of flooding just days before Hurricane Harvey struck (The Hill, Gears of Biz, Business Insider, Jalopnik, CBC).  In fact, Trump did this before Obama’s executive order even had a chance to come into effect, so it appears the move was mostly symbolic.  It seems as if nothing is as important to Trump as undoing everything done by Obama.

Here are the executive orders, for those who like to read such things.  Obama’s:

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Executive Order – Establishing a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard and a Process for Further Soliciting and Considering Stakeholder Input

EXECUTIVE ORDER
– – – – – – –
ESTABLISHING A FEDERAL FLOOD RISK MANAGEMENT STANDARD
AND A PROCESS FOR FURTHER SOLICITING AND CONSIDERING
STAKEHOLDER INPUT

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to improve the Nation’s resilience to current and future flood risk, I hereby direct the following:

Section 1. Policy. It is the policy of the United States to improve the resilience of communities and Federal assets against the impacts of flooding. These impacts are anticipated to increase over time due to the effects of climate change and other threats. Losses caused by flooding affect the environment, our economic prosperity, and public health and safety, each of which affects our national security.

And Trump’s (skipping to the end where he gets to the point:

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Presidential Executive Order on Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure

EXECUTIVE ORDER

– – – – – – –

ESTABLISHING DISCIPLINE AND ACCOUNTABILITY IN THE ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW AND PERMITTING PROCESS FOR INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to ensure that the Federal environmental review and permitting process for infrastructure projects is coordinated, predictable, and transparent, it is hereby ordered as follows:

 

Sec. 6. Executive Order 13690 of January 30, 2015 (Establishing a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard and a Process for Further Soliciting and Considering Stakeholder Input), is revoked.

 

This flood business is expensive (Houston Chronicle, The Hill, weather.com) and hard to insure against (Houston Chronicle, LA Times).  Some say the troubles in Houston are due to the lack of regulation.  Others disagree.  Others note that much of the flood damage occurred outside of the designated flood zones.  FEMA and other such agencies have certainly given the matter plenty of attention.  Unfortunately, flooding seems to be a problem that will only get worse.  And America has an administration determined not to prepare for it.

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