Five Years Later
To the Editor:
On the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Irene, we still have not learned its lessons. Irene ravaged parts of New Jersey, causing major flooding, power outages, coastal evacuations and loss of life to 10 people. Instead of making us stronger than the next storm, our governor doesn’t believe in the science of climate change. He has actually made us more vulnerable by not dealing with sea level rise, while putting more people and property in harm’s way.
The governor has clearly sided with land speculators and developers by increasing development in flood-prone areas. The Christie administration has rolled back policies like the flood hazard rules to allow building along piers on the Hudson River and flood-prone V-zones. This is not only outrageous, but it’s dangerous. Then, in a one-two punch, the state Department of Environmental Protection proposed to increase sewer service areas, which will accelerate development in environmentally sensitive areas.
Five years later, we still have a list of things the state has failed to work on. We have not updated FEMA maps for sea level rise, issued adaptation and hazard planning for sea level rise, incorporated energy efficiency and green building codes, bought out properties along the shore or restored natural systems. We cannot rebuild smarter or better if we do not address climate change. We need to stop rebuilding in the same way and expecting a different result. That is what is called insanity.
Toni Granato, administrative assistant
New Jersey Sierra Club