Video: TOP demands Houston take responsibility for environmental disaster

At this week’s meeting of the Houston City Council, several members of the Texas Organizing Project (TOP) delivered their message loudly and clearly: the City must act to protect its residents from devastating environmental hazards.

The CES Environmental Services plant in south Houston closed more than four years ago after bankruptcy and criminal prosecution against the company for violating safety and environmental laws. But the industrial waste site still sits in the middle of a residential neighborhood, spewing toxic fumes into the community and threatening public health. The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took over the site six months ago to finally begin cleanup.

The City of Houston has paid little attention to the abandoned and dangerous industrial site, despite giving CES the initial go-ahead to build in a residential neighborhood. The City has provided the EPA with no additional financial assistance, efforts to divert unhealthy water away from residents or guarantees that the site will be used to the community’s benefit once the cleanup concludes.

As the Houston Chronicle has covered, our partners at TOP are in the midst of a campaign to force the City to assume responsibility for a disastrous environmental hazard in one of its neighborhoods – and to pass an environmental rights ordinance to ensure that this never happens again. Watch their complete testimony below: