Buyouts in flood zones

I can’t stand Andrew Cuomo, but I have to give him props. Because this will be one very unpopular policy, and there will be massive pushback:

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is proposing to spend as much as $400 million to purchase homes wrecked by Hurricane Sandy, have them demolished and then preserve the flood-prone land permanently, as undeveloped coastline.

The purchase program, which still requires approval from federal officials, would be among the most ambitious ever undertaken, not only in scale but also in how Mr. Cuomo would be using the money to begin reshaping coastal land use. Residents living in flood plains with homes that were significantly damaged would be offered the pre-storm value of their houses to relocate; those in even more vulnerable areas would be offered a bonus to sell; and in a small number of highly flood-prone areas, the state would double the bonus if an entire block of homeowners agreed to leave.

The land would never be built on again. Some properties could be turned into dunes, wetlands or other natural buffers that would help protect coastal communities from ferocious storms; other parcels could be combined and turned into public parkland.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which swept through the region on Oct. 29, Mr. Cuomo has adamantly maintained that New York needs to reconsider the way it develops its coast. He has repeatedly spoken, in blunt terms, about the consequences of climate change, noting that he has responded to more extreme weather in his first two years as governor than his father, Mario M. Cuomo, did in his 12 years in the job. Last month, in his State of the State address, he raised the prospect of home buyouts, declaring “there are some parcels that Mother Nature owns.”

“She may only visit once every few years,” Mr. Cuomo said, “but she owns the parcel and when she comes to visit, she visits.”

5 Responses to Buyouts in flood zones

  1. imhotep February 4, 2013 at 10:01 am #

    Land preservation has never been popular amongst the 1%. Hell on this very day these corporatists are trying to drill oil and gas wells on pulic lands in Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Glacier Bay to name a few. There is nothing sacred to these profit mongers.

  2. Tracey February 4, 2013 at 10:49 am #

    I would sell ONLY if the deed contained covenants against any development/use including drilling, mining, etc.

  3. russ February 4, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    “…The land would never be built on again. Some properties could be turned into dunes, wetlands or other natural buffers that would help protect coastal communities from ferocious storms; other parcels could be combined and turned into public parkland…”

    Thank goodness. I was wondering if someone would ever think in terms of using some of the money to set up natural buffer protection zones.

    Frankly, I think the Feds ought to include such a clause as a condition in getting at least a portion of the disaster relief funds.

  4. jawbone February 4, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

    BTW, Susie, Scott Walker and the Republican majorities in both houses of the legislature are working to enable removal, even destruction, and put huge loopholes in environmental regulations and protections for an iron ore mine proposed for a pristine northern Wisconsin area.

    The mine would be open pit, with huge geographic and topographical changes. This in the head waters of the Bad River and amazingly beautiful Chain of Lakes area of the state.

    The R’s are working closely with the lawyers from the mining corporation, which has vetoed proposed changes to their (the mine’s lawyers’) original language. The Dems propose that the bill preserve the public’s right to protect the land and to know what is being done to their water sources. Scott Walker actually spoke publicly about how the mine corporation’s lawyers would not accept such language in the bill.

    The best chance to hold the mine corporation back from total rape of the area is the rights of the local Bad River reservation’s Native Americans. Of course, that depends on what the Federal government will do.

    Walker just keeps saying “There will be jobs,” and since he’s been terrible at luring new jobs to Wisconsin he really needs to get some “new” jobs. His policies have mostly cut jobs — in teaching and other government functions.

    BTW, Wisconsin voters actually voted in larger numbers for Dems for state legislative seats, but, due to careful gerrymanderng, the R’s have majorities in both houses. It’s what the R’s plan to do nationally, and then put in place changes to how electoral college votes as distributed. They think they can then get back in the White House.

    One article about the mine’s involvement — can’t find the Walker quote yet.

  5. Ron February 4, 2013 at 7:02 pm #

    You know, this is/was(?) viewed as a preferable ‘non-structural’ method of flood control by the federal government. It’s way cheaper in the long run. Of course, that makes it anathema to developers and bankers. They wet their pants at the idea of getting the land for free or next to nothing, building substandard and vulnerable commercial or residential properties, taking the money and retiring to Kennebunkport . . . while we the people are left to defend it against nature in perpetuity.

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