Over the next two years, the number of staff for Pollution Control Services, the Fire Marshal’s Office and Public Health Department will increase by 61 employees. This includes a doubling of the size of the Fire Marshall’s HazMat team and a 27% increase in their overall staff. It also includes a 50% increase in staff for Pollution Control Services. The funding also covers one-time capital purchases that include a state-of-the-art mobile air monitoring lab, a network of fixed and mobile monitors, and vehicles and safety gear for HazMat responders. The steps announced today shore up support for agencies that have been historically underfunded and are informed by a “gap analysis” conducted after recent petrochemical fires.
“Our residents should never have to worry about the quality of the air they breathe or the environmental conditions in which they’re raising their families,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. “Harris County is the nation’s epicenter for oil, gas and petrochemical production, with thousands of people living in very close proximity to industrial facilities. Today's actions will finally enable us to shift from a reactive posture to a proactive one when it comes to protecting our communities. We simply can’t rely on industry or state and federal agencies to safeguard the quality of our environment.”
The allocations for three county agencies are as follows: