Environmentalists press for climate change consideration in Sandy rebuilding

 New Jersey lawmakers are wondering why the state was awarded just $15 million -- while New York received more than $200 million -- for flood-protection efforts such as these dunes along Normandy Beach. (Emma Lee/for NewsWorks)

New Jersey lawmakers are wondering why the state was awarded just $15 million -- while New York received more than $200 million -- for flood-protection efforts such as these dunes along Normandy Beach. (Emma Lee/for NewsWorks)

As New Jersey continues to rebuild from Sandy, there are some differences on how to proceed.

Contending that the reconstruction is not taking climate change into account, environmental groups urge a strategic retreat from some storm-surge and flood risk areas.

Gov. Chris Christie, however, said he won’t condemn shorefront properties to prevent rebuilding homes there.

“There are private property rights to respect here,” the governor said. “And if folks are willing to comply with the law and make their structures more resilient and tougher against the weather, then I don’t think there’s any reason why I shouldn’t let them rebuild.”

Christie said that residents who voluntarily want to leave their homes in flood-prone neighborhoods may be eligible for a $100 million buyout program.

He says the state is prepared to take property along the coast to build an integrated dune system to provide protection from future storms.

About 1,100 shorefront property owners still haven’t signed easements to allow that project, Christie said.

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