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Climate Change Not Part Of Sandy Rebuilding Plan

While the recovery from Superstorm Sandy continues, some worry about the next big storm and it’s potential impacts on our area. 

Aerial view of damage in Seaside Heights following Sandy
Aerial view of damage in Seaside Heights following Sandy (Tim Larsen, Governor’s Office)

There are many in the science community that fear similar or even worse conditions brought on by Mother Nature’s fury.  Is the Garden State preparing enough for the possibilities?   Some feel the answer to that is no.

The group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, also known as PEER, is raising red flags about sea level rise and climate, which aren’t being considered in rebuilding plans, at least for right now.  The non-profit group, headed up by a former Department of Environmental Protection staffer, feels the FEMA flood maps are severely flawed and more needs to be considered before vulnerable areas are developed again.

PEER Director Bill Wolfe says “a lot of time and research has gone into the fact that our world is changing.  The weather patterns are becoming more of a problem day by day.  Sandy could be a preview to an even bigger disaster and we have got to be ready.”

One idea that has been mentioned a lot is a system of strategic retreat from the coast.  Wolfe explains “that means not building on sensitive areas.  Instead, the state should buy those people out and help them relocate to other places that are less of a risk.”

During a recent Senate Committee hearing in downtown Toms River, Wolfe told Townsquare Media News that he tried to speak with Governor Christie at a press conference in Union Beach on the issue.  Christie called it “an esoteric issue” and told Wolfe to be quiet.  He was then told because he wasn’t a member of the media, he wouldn’t be answering his questions.

Wolfe says his group will continue to push to get both sea level and climate change considered as part of the plan.

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