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White House Executive Order May Make Shore Communities Less Vulnerable to Storm Damage

February 2nd, 2015 by

Photo courtesy of NJ Spotlight

Photo courtesy of NJ Spotlight

President Barack Obama has issued an executive order directing all government agencies handing out federal aid to incorporate stricter building requirements that take sea-level rise into account. The move is aimed at making residents in coastal areas safer from storms like Sandy, as well as ensuring that taxpayer money is spent wisely.

Planners and environmentalists have long lamented that the FEMA flood maps — which dictated the construction standards for Sandy victims rebuilding along the coast — only considered historical flood damage in requiring them to build to the 100-year flood height (a flood that has a 1 percent chance of occurring annually), but did not take into account future risks pertaining to climate change or potentially more severe storms. Most other government agencies similarly failed to incorporate climate predictions in their planning efforts.

As such, the Jan. 31, 2015, announcement is being viewed as an important policy shift, with one FEMA official tweeting that it’s “the most significant action by a president to address the flood resilience of the nation” in nearly 40 years. Policy observers here in New Jersey also said they’re thrilled by the news.

Read more on NJ Spotlight about what this means for New Jersey.

 


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