Should the Jersey Shore Rebuild?

For anyone that's seen the shocking images of boardwalks ripped to shreds and homes and roller coasters now sitting in the ocean, its clear the Jersey Shore bore the brunt of Sandy. The debate has already begun as to whether the area should rebuild.
November 2, 2012, 9am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Among the most agonizing images in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy have been those of the destruction along the Jersey Shore, where communities like Seaside Heights and Brigantine suffered extensive damage. According to Geoff Mulvihill and Maryclaire Dale, environmentalists, planners, and elected officials have already begun weighing in on the prospects for rebuilding hard hit areas in the face of rising sea levels and more extreme storms.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has already spoken of a desire to rebuild: "I don't believe in a state like ours, where the Jersey Shore is such a part of life, that you just pick up and walk away." But he's also spoken about the need for property owners, and not the government, to determine if it makes sense to rebuild.

But, by funding shore protection programs and flood insurance, environmentalists contend, the federal government already provides subsidies for rebuilding. "We've built in places that we shouldn't have built and now those places are becoming even more hazardous and more expensive to stay in," said Peter Kasabach, executive director of the planning advocacy group New Jersey Future. "As we grow and develop, we should make sure we don't continue to invest in those places." 


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Published on Thursday, November 1, 2012 in Salon
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