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Letter: Harvey highlights need to regulate development

Harvey highlights need to regulate development

There is no denying the devastation from Hurricane Harvey is beyond comprehension. Nature has a way of showing its dominance no matter how wealthy, powerful or advanced mankind becomes. Only a very shallow being could not empathize with the plight of our fellow citizens in Texas.

As procedures begin, however, for the massive cleanup and rebuilding, it’s important to let logic step in and outweigh emotionalism.

Based on responses from engineers, both civil and environmental, Houston’s unbridled growth was at the expense of regulatory controls and codes, resulting in elimination of retention ponds and natural runoffs causing sinking ground while development expanded too close to tributaries used to divert excessive rainwater.

At a time when Congress is battling over needed infrastructure spending across the nation, our tax dollars should be used judiciously when renovating an area that has repeatedly been hit with floods but resists adherence to building codes and Army Corps of Engineers recommendations for safeguarding wetlands, allowing natural runoffs not provided by overly paved greenspace.

Contrary to the advocacy of our president, there is validity to proper regulation (in this case, safeguarding against overexpansion of development). If we cannot agree on climate change causing drastic weather patterns, we should at least make efforts to be better prepared for the next traumatic weather conditions. When Mother Nature arrives on the scene all the profits from cutting corners go up in smoke or, in this case, down the drain.

Helen M. Shoff

West Seneca

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