Assessing Hurricane Response Efforts at Field Hearing
Last Monday, Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Interior, Energy and Environment, which I chair, held a field hearing titled, "The Historic 2017 Hurricane Season: Impacts on the U.S. Virgin Islands."
At this hearing we discussed the federal government's response to last summer's catastrophic hurricanes that impacted Texas, the Gulf Coast, Florida, and the United States Virgin Islands. Examining the ongoing hurricane response and recovery taking place in the U.S. Virgin Islands is critical in helping the efforts here continue.
The U.S. Virgin Islands face additional challenges in hurricane recovery. While most of the debris from Harvey in South Texas has been removed, lack of equipment, distance and limited landfill space have been a problem in the USVI. With hurricane season only weeks away, debris poses a huge safety risk in the event of another storm.
While in the US Virgin Islands I was able to survey the hurricane damage on St. John. Seeing the mass devastation caused by the hurricane firsthand provided me with greater insight into the additional challenges of recovery on an island so distant from the mainland U.S. compared to what we faced here in South Texas recovering from Hurricane Harvey.