Texas cold snap froze cleanup efforts at some Superfund sites

Texas cold snap froze cleanup efforts at some Superfund sites


A sign is posted in front of the Brio Superfund site on September 4, 2017 in Friendswood, Texas. Thirteen Superfund sites in Texas flooded following Hurricane Harvey. | Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Texas’ deep freeze was the latest warning that extreme weather events threaten to derail efforts to clean up the most toxic sites in the US. In a worst-case scenario, a natural disaster can unleash buried toxic substances. But even minimal damage or the mere threat of a storm can stop or slow cleanup efforts.

That vulnerability could become a bigger problem as climate change brings about more weather-related disasters. For years, experts have pushed the Environmental Protection Agency to prepare for the onslaught.

“We have over two dozen Superfund sites here in our county, and we are one of the most threatened coasts in the world by natural forces,” says Jackie Young-Medcalf, executive director of the Houston-based nonprofit Texas…

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