Concluding Saturday and Sunday, Galveston Historical Foundation’s annual Historic Homes Tour showcases one of the largest collections of Victorian homes west of the Mississippi. These houses represent our community’s unique history and perseverance in the face of major hurricanes and storms.
They also represent our future, bringing more than 7 million visitors each year, one of many important economic drivers that keeps us moving forward.
Sadly, our historic districts — as beautiful as they’re important — face a threat we must take notice of and stand up against. A local business has plans to begin the manufacturing and storage of a hazardous product right in the middle of these treasured homes.
And unfortunately, the real threat goes beyond the manufacturing operations — the product to be created and sold will put the lives of Texas children at risk from the first moment it hits store shelves across the state.
Owned and operated by former Galveston City Councilman Ralph McMorris, Lt. Blender’s Yogurt Technologies LLC is seeking legislative approval to produce and store powdered alcohol products right in the middle of historic Galveston, meaning flammable substances would be located beside homes that have stood in place for well over 150 years.
Would we be ready for the destruction that one spark could create?
But the real consequences of this entrepreneurial endeavor could prove even more tragic. Powdered alcohol, a sweet dehydrated form of alcohol that looks like Fun Dip candy and mixes like Kool-Aid, has raised alarming red flags for the potential threat it poses to youth.
Across the country, significant concerns have been rightly asserted about powdered alcohol leading to an increase in underage drinking, alcohol poisoning and car crashes. The flavored powder can be mixed with water, put on food, eaten by the spoonful and even inhaled. When added to other alcoholic beverages or when multiple packets are combined, alcohol levels could rapidly spike to exponentially higher — and more dangerous — levels.
So with minimal liquid, an underage minor could become highly intoxicated in minutes, placing his or her life and others at risk, especially behind the wheel of a car.
Because of these concerns 37 states have passed bans on powdered alcohol. It’s not produced or sold in stores anywhere.
In Texas, two bills, SB 455 and HB 849, have been filed that would legitimize this product, making it as legally acceptable as a regular alcoholic beverage even though its dangers are unique and far worse. Reassuringly, a broad-based coalition of community organizations and leaders, parents, educators, judges, law enforcement and even package stores and wine, beer and spirit distributors have united in smart opposition. Instead of these bills they’re advocating for the passage of HB 1610, which would make Texas the 38th state to ban powdered alcohol. Together, this coalition is fighting the good fight to save our children’s lives.
Manufacturing and selling this dangerous product has no place anywhere in Texas, especially not here in the heart of Galveston. We must take a stand before it’s too late. Please call your state legislators to vote yes on HB 1610 and vote no on SB 455 and HB 849.
Together, Galvestonians have overcome many disasters. Let’s not look back in the future to a time when we could have acted before a great fire occurred or a child was lost to powdered alcohol.