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Houston Regional Group - News
Is the Ike Dike Really Dead?
Brandt Mannchen

Recent reports in late May suggest that the infamous Ike Dike is "dead." The Sierra Club does not believe this is true. The reports quote Galveston County Judge Mark Henry as saying that "Right now the money doesn't exist and I don't know how we can pay for it."

For those not familiar with the Ike Dike (Where have you been?), Dr. Bill Merrell of Texas A&M at Galveston in 2009 suggested that a 17 foot high dike, with huge gates for the passage of large ships through navigation channels, be constructed from High Island to San Luis Pass. The cost has been estimated at $3 billion. The Sierra Club suspects the cost will be 3-6 times greater since large engineering projects are often underestimated (remember the I-10 expansion that went from $500 million to $2.5 billion), because the cost of inflation has not been factored in, and because financing costs have not been calculated.

A six-county Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District (GCCPRD) was created via state law by Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston, Harris, Jefferson and Orange Counties to consider coastal projects including Ike Dike. Funding has been the stumbling block since the GCCPRD has already chosen a President, former Harris County Judge Robert Eckels and an engineering firm (Dannenbaum Engineering) to act as the consultant to oversee any studies.

With talk of extending the proposed Ike Dike to Freeport the idea has grown more gargantuan and expensive as time has passed. So no, the Ike Dike is not dead. Look for those who will benefit from the Ike Dike, by using public funds to protect hazardous coastal development of fragile seaside habitats, to team up with politicians to push for local, state, and federal public funding (that means your taxes, their dike) of studies which will be used to justify the construction of an Ike Dike. This will be done to keep the momentum rolling until monies are found to build this "pyramid of folly" for coastal destruction. Stay tuned and be ready to protect your pockebook!

August 2011

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Last updated:  07/24/2011.   Content 1999-2011 by the Sierra Club.