MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS…

MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS…

Monument Men

A day after issuing a temporary injunction, favoring a group suing to save a Robert E. Lee monument from being torn down in Dallas, a federal judge has given the city the green light to remove the Confederate monument, according to the Dallas Morning News. After Dallas City Council voted nearly unanimously on Wednesday to remove the statue, work crews had the 14-foot, 81-year-old sculpture of Lee and an unnamed soldier wrapped in a harness, trying to figure out the best way to get rid of it, when U.S. District Judge Sidney Fitzwater issued a temporary restraining order blocking its removal. But Dallas resident Hiram Patterson and the Texas chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans—the group who filed the initial complaint to stop the removal—didn’t have long to savor their legal victory. Fitzwater dissolved the temporary restraining order the next day. City officials told the Morning News the statue will be removed sometime soon, probably within the next few days.

Bad Blood

Arkema is facing a lawsuit from seven first responders who allege the company owes them $1 million in damages after they were injured following exposure to chemicals in the company’s flooded chemical plant in Crosby. The suit, filed on Thursday in Harris County, accuses Arkema of gross negligence after parts of the plant ignited and spewed toxic fumes on August 31, following fooding from Harvey. According to the Houston Chronicle, the suit alleges that, despite having knowledge of what flooding does to the plant and knowing that Harvey was coming, Arkema “ignored the foreseeable consequences of failing to prepare,” leaving trailers of volatile chemicals vulnerable to explosion after flooding took out the plant’s electricity and ability to cool the heat-sensitive chemicals. “Immediately upon being exposed to the fumes from the explosions, and one by one, the police officers and first responders began to fall ill in the middle of the road,” the lawsuit claims. “The scene was nothing less than chaos. Police officers were doubled over vomiting, unable to breathe.” According to the New York Times, a total of 21 first responders have been treated at hospitals for smoke inhalation and nausea.

Hometown Homeland

U.S. Representative Michael McCaul, a Republican from Austin, is the leading candidate to take over as the head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, according to Politico. This isn’t the first time a Texan has been floated as a candidate for that role—Rick Perry was thought to be in the running after the job was vacated following John Kelly’s role shift from DHS head to White House chief of staff—and McCaul himself was in the mix when President Donald Trump initially searched for someone to fill the role. The job’s been vacant since July, but according to Politico, Hurricane Harvey and the upcoming Hurricane Irma have given the White House increased urgency in filling the opening. McCaul worked closely with the White House as it responded to Harvey, and was on the ground in Texas to greet the president on the tarmac when he touched down here last week. “People familiar with his thinking” told Politico that McCaul is “eager to serve” in the Trump administration.