The federal task force report on rebuilding from Sandy finds the impact of rising sea levels must be considered in planning for future storms.
Speaking at an event in Little Ferry, N.J., to discuss the report, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., says it’s essential that rebuilding from Sandy be less vulnerable to sea level rise and stronger storms resulting from climate change.
“We need to take an approach that understands and recognizes it instead of fighting the science,” he said.
Appearing with Pascrell Tuesday, Gov. Chris Christie says he’s not reconsidering the possible influence of climate change.
“We are pursuing significant infrastructure improvements to our state in order to try to make ourselves stronger and more resilient for whenever the next storm comes,” he said. “The rest of that is a scientific discussion and debate that I’m simply not engaged in.”
Pascrell says he understands Christie’s focus on dealing with the immediate concerns of Sandy victims, but he says it’s also important to consider the long-term protections needed to prevent problems from future storms.
“I don’t think the governor was being dismissive. He wants the more boots on the ground approach at this particular time and long term, but it may not be long term,” he said. “We could have a storm next week, and that is why it’s parallel efforts that should be going on right now.”
Climate change is not what Sandy victims are concerned about now, added federal Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan.
“When you talk to a homeowner or a business owner, they don’t care about the causes. They don’t care about where this is coming from,” Donovan said. “What they care about is, and they know based on these storms, that they’re at risk.”