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PHOTOS: Hurricane Laura’s Impact in Texas and Louisiana

by Ryan Schleeter

September 1, 2020

Hurricane Laura struck in the heart of the Gulf Coast oil and gas industry, leaving a trail of devastation and pollution in its wake.

Damage from Hurricane Laura

A dead bird lays in the debris near the damaged Capital One Office building in Lake Charles. One of the strongest hurricanes ever to strike the U.S., Laura barreled across Louisiana shearing off roofs and killing at least six people while carving a destructive path hundreds of miles inland. Laura's top wind speed of 150 mph (241 kph) put it among the strongest systems on record in the U.S. Not until 11 hours after landfall did Laura finally lose hurricane status.

© Julie Dermansky / Greenpeace

Late last week, Hurricane Laura made landfall as a Category 4 storm near Cameron, Louisiana, roughly 30 miles east of the Texas border. Winds peaked at 150 miles per hour, storm surges stretched miles inland, and more than 600,000 homes were initially left without power.

Photo and video from Hurricane Laura’s impact is available here (more will be added throughout the week): https://media.greenpeace.org/collection/27MZIFJLJF5OZ

Hurricane Laura struck in the heart of the Gulf Coast oil and gas industry, with hundreds of refineries and petrochemical facilities forced to emit millions of pounds of toxic pollution prior to evacuation. While the worst of the storm missed major population centers like Houston and New Orleans, residents to the south and east of Houston reported being able to smell chemicals in the air prior to the storm. During Hurricane Harvey in 2017, reports filed by companies to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) show that more than 5.7 million pounds of air pollution were released by chemical plants, oil refineries, and industrial facilities in the month after the storm made landfall. Ninety percent of this air pollution was released by just 13 companies.

ENDS

Contact: Ryan Schleeter, Senior Communications Specialist, Greenpeace USA: +1 (415) 342-2386, [email protected]

Ryan Schleeter

By Ryan Schleeter

Ryan Schleeter is a senior communications specialist with Greenpeace USA covering climate and energy. His writing has appeared in National Geographic, Grist, GreenBiz, EcoWatch, and more. Find him on Twitter @ryschlee.

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