HOUSTON (AP) — A joint investigation by The Associated Press and Houston Chronicle reveals that the extent of Hurricane Harvey’s toxic assault on the environment was more widespread than authorities publicly reported after the storm deluged the nation’s fourth-largest city, and questions about the long-term consequences for human health remain unanswered.
Reporters catalogued more than 100 Harvey-related toxic releases — on land, in water and in the air. Most were never publicized. Only a few were investigated by federal regulators. State officials say they have investigated 89 incidents but have announced no enforcement actions.
Testing by state and federal regulators of soil and water for contaminants was largely limited to Superfund toxic waste sites. Regulators alerted the public to dangers from just two toxic disasters.
Officials in Harris County, home to Houston and 4.7 million residents, say the state’s industry-friendly approach has weakened efforts to force cleanup by the compa