In response to the story (“Newly created protection district digs into coastal barrier planning,” The Daily News, Dec. 1): I haven’t been a disciple or advocate of the Ike Dike study or the ensuing project.
However, I’m confident and excited now that the project has the blessing of the bureaucrats and politicians in Austin and Washington, despite no firm pledges of funding.
Are there other storm-related studies to mitigate devastating 150 mph winds and flooding from 40- to 60-inch rain events? Spending billions to protect against one threat leaves residents vulnerable to being wiped out by another — a dilemma for one and all.
It appears that the primary focus of protection is the city of Houston and the Port of Houston. These entities have squandered millions and millions of Hurricane Harvey recovery and other federal grants over the years. Should the coastal taxpayers of the Ike Dike district feel open and willing to help our neighbors to the north?
What’s the threat design basis? Does the Ike Dike project have data or models that predict a monster storm surge or an earthquake-induced tsunami originating in the Western Caribbean? What’s the threat frequency?
Why is Chambers County a part of the coastal coalition? Why is Brazoria County excluded from the coalition? What about our neighbor to the east, the state of Louisiana, which seems to be the epicenter destination of Gulf storms?
Is the Ike Dike protection of industry assets compatible with the current climate change initiative? It seems that the petroleum and petrochemical industries are in the crosshairs of zero emissions climate change plans. If so, the majority of these assets may vanish within the next 5 to 10 years. Will Ike Dike levees and seawalls be designed with silos and slot bunkers to accommodate retractable wind turbines and solar arrays?
The Daily News introduced its readers to the Gulf Coast Protection District board. One member expressed aspirations of “spending $1 billion a year within the next 3 to 4 years.” With no guaranteed state and federal funding at this juncture, this should send a chill up and down the spine of district taxpayers with a potential significant Ike Dike tax levy in the wings.
The current project estimate is $29 billion. Considering potential seasonal construction, legal and environmental challenges, the final project tally could easily swell to $60 billion. Then there’s an annual operating and maintenance budget, which hasn’t been scoped or estimated at this juncture.
The protection district board and director have an enormous selling job ahead of them. I would suggest that the residents of the coastal district be considered ad-hoc members of the board. I would also suggest quarterly newsletters or reports issued as supplements to the coastal and Houston newspapers.
The initial issue should be the first quarter 2022, which would encompass the inception of the Ike Dike study forward to date. This approach may be a more effective way to reach our senior citizen population as opposed to computer websites.