Trump administration freezes funding for study of hurricane barriers: report
A federal study aimed at protecting the New York and New Jersey waterfronts from rising sea levels and storm swells has been halted by the Trump administration.
The purpose of the study was to examine how New York and New Jersey residents can avert the kind of damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
The Army Corps of Engineers has overseen the $19 million, six-year research project since 2016. Four of the plans put together include developing retractable sea walls along the coast, and the fifth consists of building a surge barrier that would stretch from Sandy Hook, N.J., to the Rockaway Peninsula in New York.
The Army Corps of Engineers estimated the surge barrier could cost around $110 billion, according to the Post.
Despite predictions from scientists that coastal storms will intensify in the coming years from causes related to climate change, President Trump recently called one of the proposals related to the study “foolish.”
A massive 200 Billion Dollar Sea Wall, built around New York to protect it from rare storms, is a costly, foolish & environmentally unfriendly idea that, when needed, probably won’t work anyway. It will also look terrible. Sorry, you’ll just have to get your mops & buckets ready!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2020
The Army Corps of Engineers on Friday announced the “indefinite postponement” of a public meeting scheduled for Thursday in Rockaway Park due to a lack of necessary funding for the study.
The Hill has reached out to the agency for comment.
“The administration is being penny-wise and pound-foolish by not funding the studies that allow New York to prepare for the next superstorm,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), according to the Post.
Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geoscience and international affairs, told the Post that “from a non-political perspective” the freeze on spending is “counterproductive.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it will continue to work alongside the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on other projects to improve the area’s resilience from storms and rising seas.