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Tue Jun 4, 2019, 01:02 AM

Houston knows Beto O'Rourke is right: Environmental racism is real here and throughout America

Democratic presidential candidate and former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke raised a few eyebrows recently by claiming that, “Race is the No. 1 indicator for where toxic and polluting facilities are today.”

Politifact Texas rated the claim “mostly true,” citing several studies that say race is a stronger indicator than income or property value in determining who is more likely to live near hazardous waste facilities and plants coughing out pollution.

In too many Houston neighborhoods, residents don’t need a study to tell them they fit O’Rourke’s description. They know their health is at risk because they can smell it in the air they breathe. That includes residents of the Harrisburg/Manchester community, just south of the Houston Ship Channel, where 97 percent of residents are people of color and 37 percent live in poverty.

The Environmental Protection Agency says 90 percent of Harris/Manchester residents live within a mile of a facility considered at high risk for a “catastrophic” industrial accident.

Read more: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Houston-knows-Beto-O-Rourke-is-right-13925987.php

Residents look on at the plume of smoke rising from a fire at the Intercontinental Terminals petrochemical storage site in Deer Park, Texas on March 19.
Photo: Scott Dalton / Bloomberg

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