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Christie & Obama: Together Yet Far Apart on Sandy Recovery

Even though President Obama and Governor Christie were together on the beach after Sandy, their policies are far apart.

Even though President Obama and Governor Christie were together on the beach after Sandy, their policies are far apart. 

President Obama has issued an Executive Order (EO) to help us recover and rebuild.  The President is creating a transparent process to bring people together, address climate change, and rebuilding in a resilient way while Governor Christie is moving in the opposite direction.  He is grabbing political power through a czar, doing it behind closed doors while waiving environmental standards, and allowing rebuilding in the same way and same place that was destroyed.

President Obama is calling for the creation of the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force and Advisory Group to bring people together in an open and transparent process to get the viewpoints of different groups and people impacted by the storm.   The advisory group will have a variety of representatives from the state and local level. 

Instead Governor Christie has hired a czar to oversee rebuilding and the DEP is already starting to have their secret stakeholder meetings.  Instead of bringing people together they are trying to divide and conquer and bring in special interests to weaken environmental protections in the name of Sandy.

The President calls for a long term rebuilding plan that includes an assessment of the vulnerabilities of extreme weather and will help New Jersey prepare for the impacts of climate change.  The President’s plan addresses ecosystem restoration and rebuilding for resiliency.

The Christie administration’s policies conflict with the President’s direction.  The DEP is using the storm to get rid of environmental protections.  DEP Commissioner Bob Martin signed an Administrative Consent Order waiving compliance with coastal, flood hazard, and wetland standards for infrastructure rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy.  This is not about helping local governments and state agencies rebuild quickly; this is the dismantling of environmental protections hiding behind the disaster.  We are placing infrastructure back in vulnerable places. 

While President Obama sees a strong role for government, Governor Christie is trying to roll back environmental protections through his Red Tape Review Group, Executive Orders, and other ways that will not only hurt the environment but will make us more prone to flooding. 

Governor Christie has streamlined regulations and instituted the DEP transformation, rolling back environmental protections.  Governor Christie weakened land use tools within the DEP that prevent sprawl in flood prone and wetland areas.  His administration has rolled back the stormwater, stream buffer, water quality management, beach access, and flood hazard rules, removing key protections.  The Governor has called for no rules stronger than federal minimums. 

The waiver rule further guts environmental regulations. Almost everyone who has come in for a waiver has done it to build along the water front and in flood prone areas.

Instead of fixing the coastal regulations, which are broken, the administration is weakening the rules further.  The administration has rolled dune protections and has allowed beach bars and other developments that impact dunes. 

The Christie administration has not adopted new FEMA mapping that shows how flooding has gotten worse in New Jersey.  These new maps would help protect people and property, but Governor Christie does not want to limit development in those areas. By not fixing those maps people do not know they live in flood prone areas and do not get flood insurance, costing the tax payers more money.

Governor Christie stopped progress under previous administrations who had come forward with studies on adaptation to climate change and sea level rise including hazard planning.  There were important reports and mapping about the Delaware Bay Shore and protecting critical infrastructure in the Meadowlands and Newark airport.  Governor Christie eliminated the Office of Climate Change which played a role in the reports and now you cannot even find those reports on the DEP website. 

While the President is addressing sea level rise and storm surges, the Governor eliminated the Office of Climate Change, downgraded the Division of Science to an Office, and either buried or hid the reports that were done on the impacts of sea level rise to New Jersey.

While the President’s EO is not perfect as it does not address regional planning, green building, or renewable energy, it does set a framework to allow us to make those improvements.  Instead Governor Christie is trying to weaken and roll back environmental protections, eliminate oversight, and weaken regulations dealing with flooding and climate change.”

With so many houses and businesses destroyed we must begin the process to rebuild our coasts. We can either continue with failed policies of the past or we can develop our coast in a way that helps protect people, property, and the environment. We can start building better and smarter along our coast, which will not only help our tourism industry to recover, but can help to ensure that we have a coast for future generations.

We hope the President’s EO will force the Christie administration to change.  Otherwise we will continue the mistakes of the past leading to more devastation and more problems down the road or do it better and smarter. We can rebuild in ways that will actually protect our coasts for future generations as we grow our economy and keep the tourists coming down the shore. We need to change our policies and practices when we rebuild.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Colette December 19, 2012 at 11:27 PM
The Army corp of engineers should rebuild the dunes from PP to island beach with all beaches treated equal,,,it should be a federal mandate, no matter who actually owns the land....it would stop all of the fighting between the beaches and towns about access and easements,,,this was a serious storm ...all pettiness needs to step aside....
bayboat December 20, 2012 at 03:22 AM
GOD you're boring Jeff.
Jackie Reilly December 20, 2012 at 05:39 AM
Have you even looked at the new flood maps! Many people whose homes were damaged in the storm have been rezoned and are now finding it physically and financially impossible to comply with the rules of the new zones. They were devastated by the storm and now crushed by the new rules not to mention the loss of property value that they have incurred. Many are senior citizens and cannot afford to pay for pilings and how do you put pilings under an existing house? Let's help the people affected recover not bury them in more troubles!
Ralebird December 20, 2012 at 07:45 AM
Are you really saying that homes damaged by flooding should not be in the flood zone? Really?
paddler December 20, 2012 at 10:14 AM
Couldn't agree more with Jackie Reilly and less with Jeff! Jeff wrote: "Governor Christie has streamlined regulations and instituted the DEP transformation" "Governor eliminated the Office of Climate Change, downgraded the Division of Science to an Office" So, he's cut red tape and reduced the size of government - and that's a bad thing???? It's been difficult enough for those of us affected by the storm to deal with home owner's and flood insurance (FEMA has been of no help at all). So, Christie is cutting red tape to make it easier for people to get their homes and lives back to normal - that's what New Jersey needs - not another government task force or advisory group. We need immediate action, not a committee.
Mike Ryan PPB December 20, 2012 at 01:22 PM
This article is nothing but ideological BS. Not a shred of objective thinking went into it.
Donald December 20, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Mike, that's your subjective thinking.
Paul J. DiBartolo December 20, 2012 at 02:48 PM
A "Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force and Advisory Group." Now that gives me a lot of confidence. I think I have to agree with Mike's analysis of this article; it's got all the right buzz words to give everyone a "warm fuzzy" but if you're really expecting something to get done...well...
Elaine December 20, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Republicons in congress want to cut the 60 billion to 24 billion I bet you republicon hypocrites are happy Mitt lost after all he did say Fema was immoral and was a no show after the storm If you are are a republicon please do not collect SS and dont file a Fema claim and renounce Medicare
Mr. C December 20, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Just another "progressive" (read socialist), rant. More and more gov't. Jeff either works for MSNBC or believes the ranting of Chris Mathews. He who said that the storm that caused billions of dollars in damages was good news for the obama re-election bid.
NJarhead December 20, 2012 at 04:38 PM
But, I've paid into SS all my life. Why wouldn't I collect it? Also, Mitt offered to visit the shore, but as he had no power at the time Christie told him he would have time to show him around. What did you expect him to do?
Elaine December 20, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Mr C Do you think Sarah Palin is a socialist? She and everyone who lives in the welfare state of AK receives a check from oil profits just for living there making her a socialist Now on to Bristol a 16 yr old hs kid with no job and a kid with no medical benefits if not for her mommy the socialist would be a welfare queen Now that my friend is reality something most republicons have no idea what that is and you did hear the republicon house wants to cut the 60 billion to 24 billion and yes Mitt did say Fema was immoral but magic underwear is a ok lol
Paul J. DiBartolo December 20, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Go back to sleep, Elaine, you and Barry won. BTW, I've paid SS for 40 years but would be more than happy to give it up if we canned the whole Ponzi scheme today. I'm betting somebody like you would yell the loudest though. That opinion is not based on any facts I have, rather it's based on using the same logic I see in your mindless comments.
Paul J. DiBartolo December 20, 2012 at 04:42 PM
But Bristol is not a welfare queen (your insulting words to anybody that might find themselves in a bind) because her "mommy" did pay for her. What does that make you? BTW, your comments are so predictable as to be laughable; but the joke's really on you for posting such mindless liberal Democrap talking points.
Elaine December 20, 2012 at 04:44 PM
republicons think ss and medicare are entitlements and since you support their policies or lack thereof in taking said benefits that would make you JO hypocrites Christie didnt have time to show MItt around lol he was busy saying Fema was immoral dressed in his magic underwear
NJarhead December 20, 2012 at 04:46 PM
No surprise, there are no facts in Elaines post. Typical liberal foot stomping. No substance, just incoherent whining about injustice, etc.
Jackie Reilly December 20, 2012 at 07:29 PM
If course homes damaged in the storm should be in a flood zone. We were in one before the storm. They changed the zone this week from A to V. V means high velocity waves which we don't have on a lagoon 2 miles from the ocean which is in the other side if the barrier island. Zone V says your house needs to be on pilings. How do you put an existing house in pilings! This is unreasonable and
clamdigger December 20, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Well Jackie, it's a common practice and something that's been done for many years. You should look into it before making comments that make it appear it is impossible. Do a simple internet search, there is plenty of info on the topic.
Irina December 22, 2012 at 06:49 PM
"My eyes are rolling and I'm shaking my head Jeff Tittel you are such an annoying and boring blow hard that everytime I see your nonscense I wanna scream. GO AWAY NUT-JOB
fed up December 24, 2012 at 04:28 AM
I love how Elaine and the others with her mindset all say the same exact things all the time. Hmmmm I wonder where they get their information.
timmy O December 24, 2012 at 04:57 AM
Sounds like Elaine is right How to Get a Dividend Payment in Alaska By Lindsey Mastis, eHow Contributor Get a Dividend Payment in Alaska Nearly everyone who lives in Alaska gets a yearly check. It's reimbursement for allowing the Trans-Alaska Pipeline to flow through the state. Alaskans are given dividend payments from the Permanent Fund. The fund was set up in 1980, and the payout is often more than $1,000. (The payout in 2007 was $1,654.) Anyone can get a dividend check, if they follow a few simple rules from Alaska's Permanent Fund Dividend Division Read more: How to Get a Dividend Payment in Alaska | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_2307547_get-dividend-payment-alaska.html#ixzz2FwTE29EE
timmy O December 24, 2012 at 05:09 AM
Reality is Paul if not for her mommy sweet lil Bristol would be on welfare in a welfare state receiving money for not working does in fact make one a socialist its not a talking point its reality
frank rizzo December 24, 2012 at 08:55 AM
to fed up both you and di bartolo are wrong again. elaine hit it right on the mark . this 6% approval rating congress is not only trying to stiff nj on sandy relief but wait till you see what food prices will be once they let the farm bill expire in a week. then di bartolo will be all over the patch blaming obama when he pays $6 for a gallon of milk. they never learn.
frank rizzo December 24, 2012 at 08:58 AM
i love teabaggers like " i have spoken" and " bayboat" they piss and moan that their constitution is being taken away from them but when someone disagrees they tell him to shut up. you see because the 1st ammendment was written for teabaggers and no one else.
Daniel Nee (Editor) December 27, 2012 at 08:35 AM
Technically speaking, it HAS been done in Beach Haven West and other areas.

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