“In the weeks after Hurricane Harvey’s catastrophic sweep through the Houston area — which resulted in chemical spills, fires, flooded storage tanks and damaged industrial plants — rescue crews and residents complained of burning throats, nausea and dizziness
“Fifteen hundred miles west in the high desert city of Palmdale, NASA scientists were preparing to fly a DC-8, equipped with the world’s most sophisticated air samplers over the hurricane zone to monitor pollution levels.
“The mission never got off the ground. Both the state of Texas and the EPA told the scientists to stay away.”
And who told the NASA* to stay away? Michael Honeycutt, a controversial toxicologist who has suggested air pollution may be beneficial to human health.
The issue was that Texas was afraid that NASA* would identify the locations of the greatest damage and slow down or stop industrial sites from rebuilding following the hurricane. Some benzene-induced cancer? not a worry!
The whole story is incredible, please go read it. But I’ll give you the spoiler right now. “Six weeks later, Trump’s EPA would appoint Honeycutt chairman of the agency’s Scientific Advisory Board, an independent panel of scientists charged with providing advice to the agency’s administrator.”
*It was NASA that Texas asked to keep away, and Trump’s EPA was OK with that, too. I’m still under the weather and I blame the Nyquil!