A microcosm

Mireya Navarro and Rachel Nuwer, reporting for the New York Times:

So, six years ago, after the Army Corps of Engineers proposed to erect dunes and elevate beaches along more than six miles of coast to protect this barrier island, the Long Beach City Council voted 5 to 0 against paying its $7 million initial share and taking part.

Many of Long Beach’s 33,000 residents would come to regret it.

Pay now, or pay a lot more later. The residents of Long Beach, New York, discovered that the hard way after Sandy. There’s a lesson in there for the rest of us. I’m just not sure we’ve been paying enough attention. 

Now Long Beach officials say they are reconsidering. “It’s no longer a hypothetical,” Jack Schnirman, the city manager, said. “It’s a reality, and we have to rebuild in a way that takes into account catastrophic storms in the future.”

Sigh. Two things: One, haven’t they ever heard of the precautionary principle? And two, there’s a reason they’re called barrier islands. When you build on the barrier, what’s protecting you?

Thanks to the support of readers like you, Per Square Mile remains independent and ad-free.

If you enjoy what you read, please consider supporting the site with a donation.

opening times