Cuomo: Don't rebuild, let Mother Nature take back Sandy-damaged areas
Now that he's laid the climate change card on the table, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposes a $400M Superstorm Sandy home buyout plan in which high-risk areas would be handed back over to Mother Nature.
Tue, Feb 05 2013 at 6:18 PM
Photo: David Berkowitzi
Just yesterday, I took a look at the rather unusual — but not entirely novel — buttress-building methods
residents of Superstorm Sandy-ravaged Long Beach, N.Y. have employed to guard their city against future storms.
However, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has another idea when it comes to protecting his state's most vulnerable coastal communities. It goes a little something like this: Let's not focus all of our attention on further fortifying New York’s flood-prone areas whether it be planting oyster beds in New York Harbor, installing Dutch-style storm surge gates, or experimenting with dikes. Let's not focus entirely on costly infrastructure projects. Instead, let’s spend $400 million to buy uninhabitable or severely damaged homes for their full pre-Sandy market values, demolish them, and let Mother Nature have a go at the land where the homes once stood.
Cuomo’s recently proposed home buyout scheme, a program what would be partially funded by the finall
y approved $51 billion disaster relief package, is somewhat drastic and when you think about it, downright Weismanian
in nature: razing homes and allowing the surrounding topography to revert back to its pre-developed, ocean-buffering state: wetlands, marshes, and dunes ... dunes just like the ones being reformed by residents in Long Beach. Some of the reclaimed coastline, which would be used exclusively to shield communities from future storms, could also be transformed into public parkland. That decision would be up to local authorities. Whatever the case, none of the land would ever be developed again.
Said Cuomo at a briefing immediately following Superstorm Sandy
: “Climate change
is a reality, extreme weather is a reality, it is a reality that we are vulnerable. Protecting this state from coastal flooding is a massive, massive undertaking. But it’s a conversation I think is overdue.”