QUOTE OF THE DAY
“They are the number one priority. They will not be disturbed, they will not be displaced, they will not be moved. People who come, if they have to pray in the parking lot, they’ll pray in the parking lot.”
—M.J. Khan, the president of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston, to the Associated Press. The Champions mosque in Houston has opened its doors to Hurricane Harvey evacuees, even as Eid al-Adha, one of Islam’s holiest days, begins. Khan stressed that though the mosque will host hundreds for Friday morning prayers marking Eid al-Adha, the people staying at the mosque will not be displaced any further.
All Eyes on Arkema
After a series of fires broke out at the flood-damaged Arkema chemical plant in Crosby on Thursday, experts, plant officials, and residents in the surrounding area are bracing for the next blow. Fires at the plant—which houses organic peroxides that, because of the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, are currently without the refrigeration to keep them stable—burned out on Thursday afternoon, but officials don’t expect the trouble to stop there, according to ABC News. As the New York Times reports, the plant has been identified as”one of the most hazardous in the state,” and six other trailers housing the chemicals are expected to explode. The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board launched an investigation into the fires on Thursday, ultimately concluding that it would be best to let them burn out rather than sending emergency responders into a potentially dangerous situation. Still, as more fires at the plant seem imminent, questions arise over whether Arkema could have been better prepared for Harvey.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
A federal judge based out of Austin temporarily blocked an abortion ban set to go into effect on September 1. Judge Lee Yeakel granted a temporary restraining order on Thursday that delays enforcement on a law banning the most common type of second-trimester abortions until September 14, according to the Texas Tribune.
Running on Empty
Despite snaking lines at gas pumps across the state in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton assured that there was no gas shortage in Texas, instead pinning the problems on logistics. “There’s plenty of gasoline,” he said. “This will subside.” Still, that hasn’t stopped lines popping up in Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio.
Law of the Land
Over 650 new laws went into effect in Texas on September 1, spanning the gamut from a ban on texting while driving to legalizing open sword carry. You can check out the Houston Chronicle‘s breakdown of some of the bigger laws going into effect Friday, but it’s worth noting that two of Governor Greg Abbott’s marquee issues—a ban on sanctuary cities and the aforementioned abortion ban—are currently tied up in the courts. Both were set to go into effect today.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
What Harvey evacuees brought with them The Washington Post
Spider-Man visits kids in the George R. Brown Convention Center People
President Trump’s “business approach” to disaster relief Fox News
Live updates on Hurricane Harvey The New York Times
Why you should give cash, not goods, to relief efforts Wired