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In Preview of NY Climate Mitigation Strategy, a Menu of Options

In a draft report being circulated by one of the commissions established by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to develop recommendations for adapting New York to climate change, a menu of infrastructure improvements, from hard to soft, are being proposed.
January 7, 2013, 11am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Formed by Gov. Cuomo in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the NYS 2100 commission was "tasked with finding ways to improve the resilience and strength of the state’s infrastructure in the face of natural disasters and other emergencies." Now, after less than two months of work, the Times has obtained a copy of the draft 175-page study that the commission has been circulating.

According to Matthew L. Walk and Danny Hakim, in reponse to the threat of more frequent floods, storm surges, heat waves and droughts, the commission has recommended a variety of programs including: "turning some of the state’s industrial shoreline back into oyster beds, hardening the electric and natural gas systems, and improving the scope and availability of insurance coverage..."

"Its broad 175-page study says the state should consider storm barriers with movable gates that would span the Narrows, at a cost of tens of billions of dollars, and endorses a variety of 'soft infrastructure' investments like building dunes and wetlands and oyster reefs, which were more prevalent along New York’s coastline in the 1800s."

"The commission also recommends some major actions that, conveniently, are already in the works, like a rail connection between the Metro-North commuter lines and Pennsylvania Station, and some ideas that have been around for years, like a new rail connection under the Hudson River."

Though the draft of the report is far from complete, "Mr. Cuomo is expected to discuss the commission’s findings as early as Monday," say Walk and Hakim. "Commissions tend to proliferate in Albany, and it remains to be seen whether the recommendations of the new disaster panels gain enough political support to take hold," they conclude.

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Published on Sunday, January 6, 2013 in The New York Times
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