Aerial view of longhorn cattle standing near bushels of hay lying in Hurricane Harvey floodwaters near Crosby, Texas. Photo: Adrees Latif / REUTERS

2 September 2017 (CBS News) – Energy Secretary Rick Perry, a former Texas governor, is still taken aback by Hurricane Harvey's devastation, but said conversations about climate change can wait.

"No one has ever seen flooding like this," he told CBSN in an interview Friday, noting that parts of Texas had seen 50 inches of rain.

In spite of the record-breaking rainfall and scientists charging that warming seas have caused hurricanes of greater intensity, Perry declined to weigh in right now on whether the White House would make any changes to its stance on climate change.

"We can line up scientists on both sides of this," he told CBSN's Stephanie Sy, but "this is not the time to be having this conversation." At this moment, he said, it's time to focus on helping victims recover from the damage wrought by Harvey.

"Everyone wants to run to the climate change debate, but that is very secondary at this particular time," he said.

He also dismissed the notion that President Trump's budget would cut hundreds of millions of dollars from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and disaster relief funding, saying that in his experience as governor and as energy secretary he had never seen a final budget that resembled the original one proposed [cf. Trump would slash disaster funding to the very agencies he’s praising for Harvey response – “The president has definitely sent a signal with his budget that emergency management is not of interest”].

An analysis by scientists at the University of California, Davis on repetitive flooding pointed out that Texas has a large share of properties that are subject to repeated flooding. FEMA, it pointed out, keeps a list of properties designated as Severe Repetitive Loss Properties (SRLPs). They're defined as properties that have filed for at least four claims of $5,000 or more from flood damage -- or total claims that exceed the value of the structure.

Of the 30,000 on the list, 4,889 are in Texas and have received some $962 million in National Flood Insurance Plan (NFIP) payments, second only to Louisiana. The analysis points out that Harvey is likely to push Texas into the No. 1 spot. [more]

Rick Perry says climate change debate is "secondary" amid Harvey destruction


  1. Anonymous said...

    Sorry, but Texans are just plain stupid way too often. Staring in the fact at the devastation of climate change but remaining in denial. You can't fix stupid.

    Perry trying to pretend that "this isn't the time" means nothing more then it is "inconvenient truth" that is still be rejected. Most of us always knew that this would happen. Not enough people died to shock the deniers into acceptance. That's what happens next time.  


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