The tough talking governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, is one of the first to voice a realistic assessment of rebuilding efforts in the wake of the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy

     Close Neighbors After Hurricane
                    Beach Haven, New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy photo Tim Aubrey/Greenpeace

Cuomo is proposing that New York take some of the money from the $50.7 billion Sandy relief bill the Congress is considering and use it to buy out property owners in the hardest-hit coastal regions. The land, Cuomo said, would then be left undeveloped, possibly to be incorporated into parks.
“At one point, you have to say maybe Mother Nature doesn’t want you here. Maybe she’s trying to tell you something,” Cuomo said in a phone interview with the Daily News Editorial Board.

Cuomo said he hopes more Sandy victims will choose to have the state buy them out rather than rebuild in areas that are at risk of future storm damage.

It would relieve the government of having to pay to rebuild the same houses multiple times.

“You have to be sensitive,” he said. “I’m not saying anybody should sell, but you should think about it. And if you want to sell, we’ll have an option.”

 The state will offer “fair market” appraisals of people’s properties that he expects will be “on the generous side.”

“We give you a check and you move on,” he said. “We take the property.”

As a US coastal resident, I've been interested in the rebuilding response to come from the state and federal authorities in the areas affected by Hurricane Sandy.  I understand wanting to return to things the way they were before disaster struck.  But turning back means ignoring the predictions of more severe storms and rising seas as climate change advances and temperatures rise.  The US has been lagging behind other industrial nations in their response to climate change.  For instance, the UK already has begun (pdf) initiating a move away from their vulnerable coast.  The US is at the beginning of initiating a conversation with citizens about the move forward.  There are tough choices to be made.

Originally posted to Climate Hawks on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 08:11 AM PST.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots.

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