GALVESTON — A joint legislative committee will meet Monday in Galveston to discuss the feasibility of building a coastal barrier system to protect Galveston, Bolivar and the greater Galveston Bay area from hurricane storm surge.
Lawmakers and proponents of several proposed systems, including the so-called Ike Dike, will meet at 10 a.m. at Lecture Theater 142 on the Texas A&M University at Galveston campus, 200 Seawolf Parkway.
The creation and maintenance of such a protective system could cost billions of dollars.
“This is a fact-finding meeting to educate committee members on the pros and cons and costs of a coastal barrier system,” said State Rep. Joe Deshotel, who chairs the House Land and Resources Management committee.
“We have to start somewhere. We have to understand what’s involved so we can make an informed decision,” he said.
Members of the House Land and Resources Management and the Senate Natural Resources committees will attend. Chairmen are Deshotel and State Sen. Larry Taylor.
Jim Blackburn of Rice University and Bill Merrell and Len Waterworth of Texas A&M University at Galveston will deliver testimony.
Blackburn is an environmental law professor who has proposed a system of smaller barriers.
Merrell is a professor and chairman of marine sciences at the university and originator of the Ike Dike project.
Waterworth is a professor of marine administration and the researcher who is charged with coordinating hurricane surge protection research between Texas A&M faculty and research partners at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. He was formerly the executive director of the Port of Houston Authority.
Several studies are underway to look at the efficacy of a storm surge barrier.
The public is invited and public testimony will be heard.
What: Legislative hearing on a coastal barrier system
Where: Lecture Theater 142, Texas A&M University-Galveston campus, 200 Seawolf Parkway
When: 10 a.m. Monday