Raising awareness of the connection between pollution, place and the public’s health.
CEER aims to drive community voices into the post-Hurricane Harvey decision-making process to promote equity and resilience by emphasizing land, water, air, waste, and housing policies that reduce human exposure to pollution and strengthen environmental conservation.
CEER envisions a region that is equitable, environmentally sustainable and economically strong where residents have the opportunity to live, work, learn, play, and pray free from environmental hazards. To make that vision a reality, we advocate for public and private investment in protecting communities by cleaning up hazards that contaminate our air, water, and land, while at the same time prevent or reduce flooding.
We call on our elected leaders, industry, and other decision makers to:
1. Focus on Equity: Ensure that environmental equity and needs-based spending of disaster
dollars is at the heart of this recovery effort. Develop a regional body, adopted in partnership
with community and environmental groups that operates under principles of equity, to address
pollution, place, and the public’s health.
2. Embrace Transparency: Ensure open and formal processes to inform the public about how
each jurisdiction is prioritizing its investments and how those investments are directly related to
harm caused by Hurricane Harvey.
3. Focus on Our Air: Minimize the negative health consequences from air pollution events by
promoting compliance with clean air laws and limiting hazardous facilities from being built in
neighborhoods and near schools. Strengthen emergency preparedness plans for hazardous
facilities. Require facilities to make investments limiting harmful exposure events, informing
residents about safety hazards, and examine an industry funding mechanism for pollution
4. Focus on Our Land: Ensure the protection of sustainable landscapes. Prioritize collaborative
stream restoration efforts that improve air and water quality. Fund additional land acquisition
to strengthen conservation such as those outlined in the Texas Coastal Resiliency Master Plan,
including on the Katy Prairie, along our bayous, along Lake Houston shores, and our barrier
islands. Incorporate low-impact and sustainable development (i.e. ecology-based solutions)
while reworking development codes.
5. Focus on Our Water: Prevent contaminants from entering our waterways. Require all
wastewater treatment facilities and toxic waste sites to account for flood waters and storm
surge, and maintain any spills or releases within their own facilities. Require that local industrial
facilities and chemical storage tanks “armor” themselves to prevent chemicals from
contaminating our watersheds. Address drinking water concerns both for source water and
flooded pipes by prioritizing an outside, independent audit on drinking water safety.
6. Focus on Resource Recovery and Recycling: Improve and expand the regional emergency
debris removal plan. Increase recycling opportunities to maximize diversion of all recoverable
and harmful materials from landfills to minimize impact of temporary debris removal sites on
communities. Begin a public education program regarding the importance of curbside
separation of waste after a disaster and consider alternatives to waste recovery.
7. Focus on Displaced People: Ensure that affordable housing units are sited outside the 500-year
flood plain. Ensure that both rental and owner-occupied units are replaced so that affordable
housing options are available near major centers of employment and public transportation.
8. Embrace Resiliency: Commit to a region-wide climate action plan. Ensure that future public
investments reflect the environmental, social, and economic risks associated with a coastal
landscape, an industrial ship channel and a growing population in a city rich with bayous and
CEER is hiring its first Coalition Director to further engage in government affairs, policy and coalition campaign development as the Houston region recovers after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. CEER brings together advocacy, social justice and education groups from three main constituencies: environmental justice, affordable housing, and conservation. Together, these main constituencies developed an 8-point plan to guide recovery efforts and infrastructure spending after the disaster.
The Coalition Director will be an employee of the Gulf Restoration Network, the fiscal program sponsor for CEER and report to a steering committee in developing and furthering the policy and community organizing principles of the coalition.