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Christie’s Policies Leave Shore Vulnerable to Future Storm

Date : Fri, 25 Jan 2013 11:18:31 -0500

Storm

For Immediate Release
January 24, 2013 Contact Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100

Christie’s Policies Leave Shore Vulnerable to Future Storm Today Governor Christie issued an emergency order adopting the FEMA advisory base flood maps.*Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club* issued the following statement in response:

"The Governor’s emergency order will apply to elevation and rebuilding codes, but the FEMA standards do not have to be followed by homeowners and were not made mandatory in DEP regulatory programs.Instead the Governor is saying residents can choose to not conform with the standards and face higher insurance premiums.This leaves families vulnerable to the next storm and could jeopardize compensation families receive from FEMA."

"The Governor also announced the DEP will streamline the permitting process to rebuild homes faster without DEP review.The DEP will only sign off on the project after it is completed, potentially opening a Pandora’s box of problems and violations.This could cost municipalities, homeowners, and tax payers millions as FEMA only reimburses projects that meet environmental regulations.This is backwards; the Governor wants to build first and review later."

"The Governor did not address reducing climate pollution and preparing for the future impacts of sea level rise and storm surges."

"The Governor is relaxing environmental standards and requirements which in turn actually puts people and property in harm’s way and ends up causing more problems than it solves.

"Since you do not have to meet the FEMA standard people may not realize they will not be reimbursed or that they cannot get flood insurance."

"The Governor did address where we should not rebuild or offer buyouts but this is the best time to do it before people start trying to rebuild in places that they should not."

"The Governor said he did not think we should do green buildings.This is the best time to implement green building codes, as Louisiana did, because it not only helps pollution and reduce energy use but helps save people money."

"The state requires you to build one foot above the 100 year storm elevation, and FEMA two feet above, and Governor Christie is waiving those standards."

‘The Governor said the maps are being adopted for elevation but not into the DEP regulatory programs so they will still be giving out development approvals in areas that flood under FEMA without elevation protections."

"If people build below the flood levels and new FEMA standards then not only are we wasting money and putting people and property in harm’s way, but the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

"Between the EO and the DEP ACO waiving environmental standards and compliance, makes no sense because areas where strong environmental standards were meet did better than areas that were overdeveloped."

"The Administration has opposed updating the flood mapping for regulatory programs as it would limit development in flood prone areas.There are regulatory programs that limit develop in flood prone or flood hazard areas including Water Quality Planning keeping sewers out of these areas. Flood hazard areas limit the amount of development and fill along with storm water and CAFRA coastal development. By not adopting these maps these regulations are based on outdated maps not showing the increase in flooding in New Jersey and more flood prone property. By not adopting these maps we are promoting overdevelopment in areas that not only flood, but will be putting people and property in harms ways, creating more flooding impacting more property and people. This can also cause a conflict where the federal government will require flood insurance, but people won’t know since the flood maps are not up to date."

"Before we can rebuild the Jersey shore we need to know where we can build and if the state does not adopt these updated maps we are going to be putting more people at risk, creating more danger and more flooding. We will not be able to build the Shore smarts or better if we do not have a foundation based on science and these FEMA maps. If New Jersey keeps avoiding storm surges and sea level raise by failing to adopt these maps FEMA could cancel the flood insurance programs in New Jersey."

"By waiving the standards people may be waving good bye to their home in the next storm."

-- 
Kate Millsaps
Conservation Program Coordinator
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
609-656-7612
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