On Sunday, Harris County Pollution Control Services alerted residents they were investigating a hydrogen sulfide leak in La Porte.
As emergency officials urged residents to shelter in place, Briscoe Cain, the Republican statehouse lawmaker representing much of the surrounding area, fumed on social media.
“What in the sweet libtard hell is this?” Cain wrote on Twitter. “Stay inside & wear a face mask to avoid exposure to hydrogen sulfide?”
Hydrogen sulfide is a flammable and hazardous gas found in sewers, volcanoes, and oil & gas refineries. It can cause eye irritation and breathing problems, and death in higher concentrations.
Cain deserves credit for coming up with a new, never-before-seen fault line in America’s culture wars.
The idea that the GOP base would rally around a proud pastime of huffing toxic gases seems too absurd, even for Texas Republican politics — although maybe not. It’s easy to imagine a day when presidential candidate Donald Trump stands next to a beaming Cain at an endorsement rally, patting the lawmaker on the back and praising him for inhaling such large quantities of hydrogen sulfide, “you wouldn’t believe.”
In a follow-up tweet, Cain seems to take genuine pleasure in revealing he smelled the sewer gas in his home all night long.
Cain, by the way, is the lead House author and champion of the forever-session’s “election integrity bill” — a far-reaching piece of voter suppression legislation that one can now safely assume was penned by Cain while he snacked on lead paint chips and mercury thermometers.
When a local resident told the lawmaker to fuck off because their home was overwhelmed by the odor and they had to rely on a workshop respirator, Cain replied, “A respirator works. That’s the point.”
Considering Cain was upset that emergency officials recommended residents mask up to protect themselves from the leak, it’s not exactly clear what he means here. It does present an interesting image of Cain, lying in bed while looking like Immortan Joe from “Mad Max,” tweeting about how normal this is.
Around midnight, Harris County Pollution Control Services announced that hydrogen sulfide was, “not the primary chemical compound of interest in the odor nuisance.”
Officials continue to investigate the odor — an easy lesson for Cain, hopefully, on why elected representatives should not ignore the smell of chemical gases in the air before emergency officials say otherwise.
Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org