With climate change entering the common lexicon, politicians and environmental advocates believe preventative measures are necessary to ensure New York City is protected from future storms.
Last week, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn proposed a series of mechanisms to shield the city against flooding and storms by strengthening buildings, energy and sewer systems, mass transit and gasoline distribution – priced at about $20 billion.
“We stand in a unique moment that carries with it a unique opportunity,” said Quinn. “The future of our planet, the world our grandchildren inherit, depends on what we do in the months and years ahead. At this moment the need for action cannot be ignored – the cost of this enterprise cannot be dismissed as too great.”
One of the front-runners in the 2013 mayoral race, Quinn detailed her proposed plan to protect the city, including an agreement with the Bloomberg administration to fast track two studies, analyzing climate-related threats against New York, to be completed by April 2013. The plan also included reinforcing Con Ed and burying power lines in vulnerable neighborhoods.
Quinn announced that Senator Charles Schumer will head an initiative to obtain an Army Corps of Engineers study to conclusively determine the necessity of constructing storm surge barriers.
A spokesperson for Quinn said there is no time frame in place for the project.
Governor Andrew Cuomo also spoke about the future changes to review of New York’s emergency weather preparedness.
Tactics to increase the state’s protection include fortifying transportation, energy and environmental systems, replacing damaged infrastructure with structures designed to withstand a tempest and integrating long-term plans regarding infrastructure planning, protection and development into New York’s economic development strategies.
“Over the past two years, New York State has been hit by some of the most destructive storms in our state’s history, causing untold damage and the tragic loss of many lives,” said Cuomo. “Regardless of the cause of these storms, New York State must undertake major reforms to adapt to the reality that storms such as Sandy, Irene and Lee can hit the state at any time.”