Congressman Al Green’s Opening Statement at Inquiry to Uncover Adverse Impact of Uncertainty Regarding Texas GLO’s Initial Denial & Inequitable Allocation of Congressionally Appropriated Mitigation Dollars from Hurricane Harvey

Jun 11, 2021

(Houston, TX) - On Friday, June 11, 2021, Congressman Al Green presented the following opening statement at an inquiry held to uncover the adverse impact of the Texas General Land Office’s (GLO) initial denial and inequitable allocation of funds to Houston/Harris County:

“I would like to thank all of you for attending this crucial inquiry. I would like to thank our panelists for their presence. The list of invitees includes: the [Harris County] County Judge and all County Commissioners, the [Houston] Mayor and all City Councilmembers, Democratic and Republican Members of Congress, as well as the Texas Low Income Information Service, Texas Housers. I assume that all would be here but for timing and/or prior commitments.”

“The purpose of this crucial inquiry is to consider recent decisions by the Texas General Land Office. We know that Hurricane Harvey was a natural disaster of epic proportions. Sadly, today, the question we must ask is whether the GLO’s inequitable allocation of funds will create a man-made disaster of similar proportions.”

“As many of you know, the Texas General Land Office recently announced its decision not to award any Community Development Block Grant – Mitigation funding to Houston or Harris County. Thereafter, the GLO announced $750 million to Harris County. This inquiry will examine a decision to deny Houston and Harris County an equitable portion of the $4.3 billion allocated to Texas by Congress through Community Development Block Grant – Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) funds.”

“Harris County is the only county in the State of Texas that has experienced three consecutive years of flooding disasters in 2015, 2016, and 2017. Hurricane Harvey inundated Harris County with 1 trillion gallons of water in just a four-day period. Hurricane Harvey was directly responsible for at least 68 deaths, causing approximately $125 billion in damages across the state.”

“Does the GLO’s withholding of funds from Houston and Harris County present a potential civil rights violation?  This inquiry may shed light on possible legal actions.What will the effects of a GLO inequitable distribution be on the people who have suffered and continue to suffer? This inquiry can shed some light on this.”

“This inquiry is being recorded, and a summary of the findings will be sent to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The inquiry’s findings will also be reported to the House Financial Services Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Congress.”

“I do not wish to politicize the needs of our constituents. Hurricane Harvey was not a Democratic disaster, nor was it a Republican flood. The General Land Office’s initial action plan was submitted and approved under the Trump Administration, not Biden’s. Whether by intent or by accident, it is Commissioner Bush who is politicizing the needs of our constituents by casting blame on the Biden Administration.”

“The GLO must amend its action plan and include an equitable allocation of funding to Houston and Harris County for disaster relief. As of yesterday, this appears not to have been done. The fate, hopes, and dreams of the suffering are in the hands of one man. I am especially grateful to the staff who helped prepare this historic event, without whom this event would not be possible. I am grateful to all the members of the press in attendance today.”