Climate Change & Protecting our Environment

Residents should never have to worry about the quality of the air they breathe or the environmental conditions in which they’re raising their families. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo is working to shift from the County’s environmental services from a reactive to a proactive posture when it comes to protecting our communities.

Key accomplishments include:

  • Reformed environmental protection, monitoring, and enforcement. The County has allocated over $11 million to build a state-of-the-art air monitoring network, increased the size of the pollution control department by over 50%, and added resources for HazMat First Responders. The actions taken thus far represent the most significant enhancement of County environmental protections in at least 30 years.

  • Acknowledging the reality of climate change. Harris County has begun using the latest science from “Atlas-14,” a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration rain model that ensures decisions we make on flood control measures are based on more accurate estimates of future flooding rather than what has happened in the past. 

  • Working to ensure that science — not politics — forms the foundation of improving resiliency. From experimenting with floating wetlands to investing in technology to improve our flood warning system to make sure families know their true flood risk, the county is moving forward to lead the nation on how to protect communities from catastrophic flooding.

  • Increased inspections of concrete batch plants to one per week for both air quality and stormwater quality.  Until then, Harris County Pollution Control Services (PCS) only conducted inspections in unincorporated Harris County and deferred to the City of Houston to conduct inspections within city limits. PCS now inspects concrete batch plants within City limits, completing significantly more inspections than in the past. Increasing the number and frequency of inspections better equips the County to hold plants accountable and identify instances of noncompliance with permits that might otherwise go unnoticed.

  • Required all cities and municipalities in Harris County to meet more stringent floodplain development standards. The policy change requires all 34 cities to adopt stricter rules as a condition of receiving $2.5 billion in County flood bond funding.