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New Jersey Will See Accelerated Sea Level Rise

Date : Wed, 27 Jun 2012 12:10:48 -0400

For Immediate Release
June 25, 2012 Contact Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100

New Jersey Will See Accelerated Sea Level Rise

Sea level rise will have a bigger impact on New Jersey than previously projected.A study by the US Geological Survey (USGS) found that the Atlantic Coast from Cape Hatterus to north of Boston will see sea level rise four times faster than the global average.While global rise has been between 0.6 and one millimeter per year since 1990, our region has seen a rise of 2 to 3.7millimeters annually.Governor Christie has been rolling back New Jersey's programs to fight climate change and promote clean energy solutions.The Governor has also weakened environmental regulations to allow more development along our coast, putting more people in harm's way as sea levels rise.Sea level rise will result in more beach erosions and more coastal flooding.Sea level rise results as climate change causes glacial melting and the thermal expansion of water in our oceans.

"Governor Christie is running away from our commitment on climate change while promoting overdevelopment in these coastal areas that are subject to sea level rise and flooding," *said Jeff Tittel, Director NJ Sierra Club*."The Governor's pro-polluter, anti-climate change agenda has real consequences on a coastal state like New Jersey.We are more at risk and more vulnerable than anywhere else and the Governor's policies will put us all at risk." Governor Christie is not doing anything to address the impacts of climate change on New Jersey.He has unilaterally pulled New Jersey from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, an agreement between ten northeast states to cut carbon emissions from electrical generation power plants.His Energy Master Plan has slashed targets for renewable energy and shifted our state's focus back to fossil fuels.He has diverted $279 million from the Clean Energy Fund this year to balance the budget.The Governor has announced he is a "climate skeptic," and he eliminated the Office of Climate Change within the DEP.The Governor is weakening our solar programs and delaying the development of off-shore wind. With climate change and sea level rise, maybe the Highlands will become a National Seashore," said Jeff Tittel. The Governor is pushing for more development along our coast in vulnerable areas.His state Strategic Plan will open up the coast and portions of the Pinelands to more intense development.The Governor is weakening protections for the Pinelands and pushing for more sewers and sprawl in the region. The Governor signed a bill to delay the adoption of updated Water Quality Management plans.This delay will give DEP time to rewrite and weaken the Water Quality Management Planning rules.The Ocean County plan is being changed to open up to 16,000 acres of environmentally sensitive areas to sewer service.This would result in an additional 125,000 people in the Barnegat Bay watershed. If the Governor was really concerned about protecting our coast from the impacts of climate change and overdevelopment there are a number of steps he could take.All streams and tributaries to the Barnegat Bay should be upgraded to Category 1 stream protections.Instead of rewriting and weakening CAFRA standards, the DEP should be revising the rule's limits on impervious cover.The current limits allow for way too much development, which will exaggerate the impacts of coastal flooding. The DEP has a proposal to lower sand dunes along the coast to improve views for developers.This will reduce protections from storm surges for homeowners. Governor Christie is rolling back a number of important rules and protections to reduce flooding impacts.The DEP is overhauling and weakening Category 1 protections, stream buffer rules, flood hazard area rules, and stormwater management rules.Key protections like zero net fill and stream buffers have been removed from the flood hazard area rules.He has weakened stormwater management rules which would require recharging and detention of stormwater as well as buffers. The DEP has proposed a waiver rule that is so vague that virtually any development project can skirt the rules of critical environmental programs.Governor Christie wants to streamline and fast track permits which will increase flooding.Funding for Blue Acres, which buys out homes in flood prone areas, has all been allocated According to a Rutgers study, with sea level rise more than 9% of New Jersey will disappear.Long Beach Island would become a sand bar off our coast.Places like the Meadowlands will be under water.One day when the Giants play the Dolphins, it could be real dolphins.

"With his weakening of protections along our coast and siding with developers over protecting the environment, based on his policies if you live down the shore you are going to have to put your house on a pontoon or buy snorkels," said Jeff Tittel.

Kate Millsaps
Program Assistant
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
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Received on 2012-06-27 09:10:48

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