Amid complaints from Galveston County homeowners about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ proposal to build a storm surge barrier along the Texas coast, some state and federal officials are calling on the corps to extend the period when people are allowed to comment on the plan.
Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush was among the first to call for an extension, writing in a letter to corps officials that an extension would “allow the community to further consider” the 400-plus page report the corps released about the barrier plan on Oct. 26.
Bush’s request was followed by similar calls from U.S. Rep. Randy Weber and state representative-elect Mayes Middleton on Monday and U.S. Rep. Brian Babin on Tuesday. Weber represents Galveston County; Babin’s district is just north of Galveston County.
Weber asked that the corps extend the comment period through February.
“Given that official public meetings have only just occurred, and with the intervening holidays likely to delay opportunities for official feedback from local jurisdiction, I respectfully request that the written comment period be extended,” Weber wrote.
The corps’ comment period ends Jan. 9, and corps officials have said that the 75 days allowed for public comments is already longer than the normal comment period for its projects.
The corps has held eight public hearings about the plan. The final scheduled hearing was in Seabrook on Tuesday.
The corps did not respond Wednesday about whether it could or would extend the comment period.
Some local governments have had to scramble to schedule votes that would allow them to submit public comments to the corps before the deadline. The city of Galveston, for instance, plans to have its own public meeting about the barrier Jan. 3 and will then form a public comment to the corps after that meeting.
Galveston County has called a special meeting for Friday to approve a resolution to submit public comment about the barrier.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn gave his final speech to the Senate as the Republican’s party’s whip on Wednesday. During part of the speech, Cornyn said, “Being the whip is like trying to keep all the bullfrogs in the wheelbarrow.” ... Santa Fe ISD board President J.R. “Rusty” Norman was in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, sitting feet away from President Donald Trump during a meeting about the release of the U.S. Department of Education’s school safety report. In a brief statement during the event, Norman complimented the president on school safety efforts. “Previous administration’s have taken steps to try to do things, but I have great faith that this one is going to go the distance to make things happen,” Norman said. ... U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz introduced a bill that would create a new position in the Department of Defense: Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space. ... The Texas legislative session begins in 19 days. ... Political Buzz will be on vacation next week and will return in 2019.