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HUD Calls for Action on Climate, Will Christie Listen”
Date : Wed, 30 Oct 2013 13:10:23 -0400
For Immediate Release
October 30, 2013
Contact: Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club, 609-558-9100
HUD Calls for Action on Climate, Will Christie Listen?
One the day after the Sandy Anniversary we still have a lot of work to
do.New Jersey has just received another $1.4 billion from HUD to
continue rebuilding efforts after the devastation.HUD is requiring in
this round of funding using the most recent national science, climate
change impacts, sea level rise, and resiliency performance standards.New
Jersey has not done any of this in previous plan.And we are concerned
that they may not do so in current round, jeopardizing not only funding
but rebuilding our state in a more resilient manner.HUD is calling for
these things and New Jersey hasn't done these things.
"One year after Sandy New Jersey hasn't made the types of changes that
are needed but HUD now requires it.If we continue to play politics with
climate change and climate science we can lose federal funding.Our
Action Plan needs to change because current plan leaves us more
vulnerable to next storm," said Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra
Club."We have not been doing adaptation planning for sea level rise,
incorporating energy efficiency and green building codes, funding for
buyouts, or restoring natural systems.The efforts to rebuild the coast
have become broken promises, delays, and inaction.Unless NJ changes it
plans it will mean a loss of funding and people and towns wont get
grants to rebuild in more resilient manner."
"There have been a lot of conferences on what needs to be done to
rebuild NJ in a more sustainable way including dealing with climate and
sea level rise.All were very useful except by the people who need to
learn the most.There were no members of the Christie administration at
any of these events.The people who need to be educated the most ignored
these important and informational events," said Jeff Tittel.
Policies to Make Our Coast More Resilient Being Ignored
New Jersey has not required the latest building codes in the wake of
Sandy.HUD is requiring them. To date the Governor's administration has
refused to adopt the latest codes and a letter from the Office of
Recovery and Rebuilding addressing the subject simply notes that "New
Jersey adopted the 2009 version of the model building code."The codes
New Jersey is using are about 15% less efficient than current codes and
new standards are being drafted this fall.
More effort needs to be made to coordinate efforts between
municipalities and government agencies on rebuilding shared
infrastructure.As we rebuild, it is an opportune time for municipalities
to look at consolidating services and key infrastructure and to do
regional planning around key infrastructure such as sewer lines.HUD is
calling for this and we aren't doing it.
There is no planning for pulling back from environmentally sensitive
areas.More planning for restoring natural systems and adding dunes along
our coast should be undertaken. There has been no comprehensive plan for
buyouts in our coastal areas and no programs for funding for buyouts.The
Governor has yet to outline plans for funding open space purchases.The
Army Corps of engineers are not requiring dunes north of Manasquan.Dunes
do not prevent flooding, especially on the Bay side and there is no plan
in place to protect those areas.
"The most important question is: Are we stronger than the next
storm?Almost a year after Sandy, New Jersey has not learned the mistakes
of the past or changed the status quo.We seem to be doing some of the
same mistakes over again when it comes to rebuilding our coast and
protecting our state from floods and storms," said Jeff Tittel.
The FEMA maps being used for rebuilding do not contain the latest flood
information from Hurricane Sandy and do not include sea level rise or
storm surges. HUD is now requiring using NOAA sea level rise info and NJ
isn't using it.Rushing to rebuild before the science and planning is in
place puts people, infrastructure, and investments at risk.New Jersey's
Flood Hazard Area rules allow for building one foot above the 100 year
flood line where FEMA recommends 2 feet above free board.We recommend
implementing the FEMA standard since it is more protective and will help
address potential mistakes in mapping. FEMA fell to political pressure
and removed areas damaged by Sandy from v zones.
Earlier this year DEP adopted changes to the coastal regulations but the
rule proposal did not fix the CAFRA mapping or reflect the
environmentally sensitive features on the ground or new flood maps.This
will still allow for sewers and overdevelopment in environmentally
sensitive and high hazard areas.
We are especially concerned as the county hazard mitigation plans are
being developed.The Ocean County plan not only maps sea level rise and
potential climate change impacts but also develops an aggressive
strategy to address these threats.We are concerned since the New Jersey
Action Plan does not include any of this the administration could deny
and/or change Ocean and other counties' plans.Requiring the New Jersey
Action Plan to implement the recommendations of the HUD Taskforce Report
would address these concerns.
Governor Christie's Policies Make NJ More Vulnerable
Instead of implementing adaptation and mitigation planning and reducing
carbon pollution, the Governor is rolling back policies that reduce
climate change pollution and promote clean energy alternatives.Governor
Christie has diverted almost $900 million from different clean energy
funding and his revised Energy Master Plan reduces our renewable energy
goals from 30% to 22.5% in favor of more fossil fuels, contributing to
climate change pollution.
Since the Governor has pulled out of RGGI there have been
consequences.There has been a drop in prices in the Solar Renewable
Energy Credit (SREC) market, almost causing a crash.We went from first
in the nation in installed solar to third and are heading to
fourth.Legislation was needed to save the solar market.
We were eighth in the nation in energy efficiency and are now sixteenth.
Governor Christie signed the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act
There is no planning involved for infrastructure or rebuilding.We need
to set up programs and mapping to deal with sea level rise, climate
change, and adaptation and mitigation for those impacts.We should be
looking at elevating, hardening or moving vital infrastructure to help
protect it and tie it to fixing other problems like combined sewer
overflows and renewable energy and green infrastructure.
New Jersey needs to rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)
to reduce carbon pollution in our state and the region.The Governor
pulled us out of the compact and vetoed legislation passed by both
houses to restore our participation.RGGI is an agreement signed by the
ten northeast states to cut carbon emissions from electrical generation
power plants.A report by the National Association of Regulatory Utility
Commissioners found that New Jersey's participation in RGGI created $151
million in economic value and 1,772 jobs in our state.While
participating in RGGI, NJ reduced its greenhouse gas usage by 10%.
"Sandy was a wake call that shows climate change is real.The state of
New Jersey has failed to lead when it comes to the climate change.The
Governor has called the problem 'esoteric' and refused to address
it.Unless we take action to reduce greenhouse gases and adapt and
mitigate to climate change, we will waste money rebuilding while
continuing to put people and property in harm's way," said Jeff Tittel.
"The Governor has denied climate science and said it is esoteric and
those positions could jeopardize federal funding.If the governor
positions sticks we could lose funding to rebuild because we have to
meet criteria. Will the Governor's national political ambitions hold
NJ's efforts to get money hostage or will he change his mind to allow
projects to go forward," said Jeff Tittel.
-- Kate Millsaps Conservation Program Coordinator NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club 609-656-7612 _________________________________________________________ NJ-Sierra-Chapter-Ex-Committee List Info & Archives: http://lists.sierraclub.org/archives/NJ-EXCOM.html - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -Received on 2013-10-30 10:10:23
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