Gov. Cuomo: Sandy's toll on NY could hit $33 billion

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More than 761,000 people in the Northeast remained without power as of 2 p.m. Thursday, according to the Energy Department. A nor’easter that swooped through the Northeast hindered recovery efforts, knocking out power for tens of thousands more people.

The power outages and destruction have shorted fuel supplies, forcing New York City to begin rationing gasoline Friday for the first time since the 1970s.

Green groups and Capitol Hill lawmakers have warned events like Sandy might become more common if climate change goes unaddressed.

Though climate scientists have been reluctant to say climate change caused Sandy, they contend it exacerbated the storm. Rising sea levels and warmer ocean temperatures likely added to Sandy’s intensity, they say.

Democratic leaders want to explore that link.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the ranking member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), the ranking member on the committee’s Energy and Power subcommittee, have called for a lame-duck hearing on climate change and Sandy.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Wednesday that he wants to press the issue next Congress.

Green groups also plan to pressure Congress and President Obama on climate change, saying Sandy has changed the calculus on the topic.

Obama, for his part, mentioned climate change in his election victory speech Wednesday morning. While many believe he will push for climate legislation, he is also expected to tackle climate change issues through Environmental Protection Agency rules.

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