Officials unveil federal report on Hurricane Sandy recovery that highlights climate change resiliency

Crews clean out homes even as the effects of Hurricane Sandy remained two weeks after the storm began. Credit: Getty Images
Crews clean out homes even as the effects of Hurricane Sandy remained two weeks after the storm began.
Credit: Getty Images

Ten months after Superstorm Sandy, city and federal officials announced the release of a rebuilding strategy Monday that they hope will serve as a model for communities like New York facing increased risk from extreme weather due to climate change.

The report, released by the federal Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, includes 69 policy recommendations aimed at aligning local plans with federal funding and coordinating recovery efforts by multiple agencies.

Standing on a rooftop in Newtown Creek, which flooded parts of Brooklyn and Queens amid Sandy’s storm surge, Mayor Michael Bloomberg praised resiliency proposals detailed by the report.

“It sets out what we all need to do at every level of government—not simply to rebuild what Sandy destroyed, but to repair our region,” Bloomberg said.

The city currently working with the Army Corps of Engineers to develop storm barriers along Newtown and other vulnerable areas.

Like Bloomberg, other officials lauded efforts to prioritize large-scale infrastructure projects that can withstand the impact of climate change.

“From the moment the storm hit last October it was clear New York City and the region as a whole would need to rebuild smarter and mitigate any future natural disasters,” Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who represents parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, said in a statement.

Some of the report’s recommendations—such as developing a tool to monitor sea level rise and use it in rebuilding plans—have already been implemented.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, who chairs the federal task force, said the report’s release was a “crucial” step in rebuilding efforts.

“This is not about the federal government coming in and telling communities what they should build and how they should build. It’s about us supporting local visions,” Donovan said, adding, “We must make sure that our investments at the federal level are going into something that will stand the test of time in a changing climate.”

The Rebuilding Task Force was created by President Barack Obama in December. While Obama said much has been done since then, he added a lot of work remains.

“We have cut red tape, piloted cutting-edge programs and strengthened our partnership with state and local officials,” Obama said in a statement on the report’s release.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter: @AnnaESanders


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