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A new study in the Journal of Ocean & Coastal Management concludes that decisions regarding which adaptation projects to put in place are not being made on the basis of what is most efficient and effective in the long run and that the poorest citizens are bearing the brunt of these mistakes, Bloomberg reports. The New York Times reported on one such decision, to reverse a policy of the Fish & Wildlife Service that will allow a beach replenishment project in Stone Harbor, New Jersey to go forward using $6.5m in federal funds to take sand from a “borrow area” within an area protected under the Coastal Barrier Resources Act.
Why This Matters:Environmental groups explain that if protected coastal barrier islands are “mined” for sand it harms birds and other wildlife, destroys important habitat and reduces the protections these places provide against impacts of storms and erosion. Beach replenishment is preferable over hardening coastlines to protect them from the climate impacts we are already experiencing, but sometimes buyouts will be more cost-effective than repeatedly replenishing. Local coastal economies rely on beaches for tourism — these communities are strong advocates for healthy oceans and coasts free from pollution and oil and gas drilling so buyouts in those areas may not be possible. Doing adaptation the right way may be more expensive and may require difficult choices about how to be fair, and not simply undertake projects that disproportionately benefit the wealthy landowners and increase the vulnerability of poor and historically marginalized communities.
Several times in the past, during Republican and Democratic administrations, the Interior Department granted an exception to allow the use of sand from the same location in the Coastal Barrier Resources System in order to provide flood and coastal storm damage reduction by adding sand and renourishing the Stone Harbor coastline three times. Stone Harbor’s mayor said of the Interior Department decision, “Stone Harbor Point is now an ecological asset, created only by previous beach fill efforts. Now we can continue to preserve the Point as an ecological treasure while at the same time using sand in the Inlet for the protection of our communities for many years to come.”
Why This Matters: We need to adapt our roads to withstand future conditions, otherwise drivers will experience much worse road conditions and traffic, not to mention the huge expense for taxpayers for repairs due to ineffective design.
By Julia Pyper, host/producer Political Climate As Congress looks toward the next coronavirus relief package, a growing number of stakeholders from across the political spectrum are calling for a comprehensive clean energy infrastructure plan to address the nation’s economic challenges. Updating America’s transportation system offers a ripe opportunity to create jobs while lowering carbon emissions. […]
Yesterday, Microsoft announced that it will be teaming up with Unilever, Starbucks, Mercedes-Benz, Nike, and four other companies to form Transform to Net Zero, an initiative focused on achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. As CNET reported, the team will work with the Environmental Defense Fund to share information on the best practices for decreasing carbon […]
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