Big oil companies are already on record that climate change is real, but here’s some real evidence.

Oil refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast are asking for government aid to build levees to protect against rising waters and storm surges.

In other words, the oil industry is asking the government for help in facing a threat that some people still insist doesn’t exist.

At issue is a proposal to build a 60-mile long barrier of seawalls, floating gates and levees stretching along the Gulf of Mexico from the Louisiana border to south of Houston; most of the 30 refineries based in Texas are located within this general area.

Hurricane Harvey, which dumped record amounts of rain in this area, knocked out much of the area’s refinery capacity.

The cost of this barrier would be at least $12 billion, with almost all of the funding coming from federal funds.

Climate and environment

The factors that lessen the impact of climate change also make the air healthier to breathe.

But a proposal by President Donald Trump’s administration to weaken pollution control rules for the coal industry will lead to more deaths and higher health costs among Americans.

An Environmental Protection Agency-related analysis revealed that health costs could be nearly $4 billion as a result of increased asthma, heart attacks and other pollution effects.

Bottom line, the costs to society from pollution are far greater than any benefits to the coal industry.

These needless health effects would hurt people in West Virginia, Missouri and Pennsylvania; all three are states voted for Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

Chemical plant dangers

Two military generals are sounding the alarm about the delay of a proposed rule to better protect America’s chemical facilities.

Lt. Gen. Russel Honore and Major Gen. Randy Manner warn that the delay could endanger American lives; the Environmental Protection Agency has identified 466 chemical facilities that each put 100,000 people at risk of a poison gas disaster.

Honore and Manner write that the “American people need more, not less” protection from chemical disasters.

From 2004 to 2013, there were about 1,500 U.S. chemical releases or explosions; in all, they caused 17,000 injuries and 58 deaths.

An attack, a natural disaster or an accident at a chemical facility could kill thousands of people; in effect, these facilities are stationary weapons of mass destruction.

After three years of discussion, the Environmental Protection Agency released a rule in January 2017 to protect people: it would affect about 12,500 facilities that use large quantities of toxic or flammable chemicals.

The proposed rule would require chemical facilities to work in closer fashion with local first responders and beef up how they evaluate their ability to prepare for natural disasters.

Honore and Manner say that the Trump administration’s foot-dragging in implementing the proposed rule represents “an enormous abdication of the government’s responsibility to protect our nation and our people,” and could lead to a “catastrophic loss of lives.”

Let’s not wait for a disaster to do the right thing.