Abbott Touts Flood Relief in Kingwood

Gov. Greg Abbott visited the Houston area on Thursday to announce the latest state actions in the ongoing recovery from Hurricane Harvey. The governor toured the San Jacinto River by helicopter, then hosted a community meeting in Kingwood. There, he laid out a new initiative to prevent future flooding in that region. "I'm proud to tell you that the Texas Division of Emergency Management has approved three million dollars to jump-start the engineering and permitting process to determine where dredging should occur on the San Jacinto River...that money is available today," said Abbott.

In addition, Abbott said the state has approved two million dollars for a regional study on how to prevent future flooding on the San Jacinto River watershed; he's also directed the San Jacinto River Authority to identify ways to prevent flooding on the West Fork of the river, and to implement a long-term plan to better protect areas downstream of Lake Conroe. Finally, the governor said FEMA has approved more than 900 voluntary buyouts of flooded homes in Harris County, 134 in the Kingwood Forest Cove area.

Abbott's latest moves come months after Harris County Judge Ed Emmett released his own 15-point plan to prevent future flooding in the county. All of the initiatives have the same essential goal. "We need to be able to respond as swiftly as possible to remediate this area," said Abbott. "So that the rainfall that's going to come down in the spring, whatever magnitude it is, can be dealt with in a way that will not lead to more flooding."

While Abbott spoke at the meeting, dozens of local residents protested outside with signs calling for dredging the river and improving the watershed. When a reporter told the governor about the protesters, Abbott replied, "When you leave, go out and tell them that the governor provided millions of dollars today for dredging."

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