News / USA

Rising Seas, Regulations Push Poor New Jersey Residents to Move Inland

Rising Seas, Regulations Push Poor New Jersey Residents to Move Inlandi
X
July 30, 2013 10:15 PM
The devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy last year along the northeastern coastline of the United States has convinced many skeptics that global warming and rising sea levels are now a real and present danger. The state of New Jersey is spending millions of dollars to build up sea walls and sand dunes to protect popular beaches but, as VOA’s Brian Padden reports, in some poor coastal communities, people are being urged to flee their homes and move inland.
Brian Padden
The devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy last year along the northeastern coastline of the United States has convinced many skeptics that global warming and rising sea levels are now a real and present danger. The state of New Jersey is spending millions of dollars to build up sea walls and sand dunes to protect popular beaches but, in some poor coastal communities people are being urged to flee their homes and move inland.

William Bowen is the oldest living resident of Money Island in New Jersey. He remembers a time when there was a wide beach in front of his home.

Now workers are helping him replace the small sand embankment that was washed away by Hurricane Sandy last year.  He says neither the storm damage nor the encroaching sea will make him leave his home.   

 “I am here to stay, okay?  I love it here. This is my roots," he said. "I have some problems with being here at my age. I’m 85. And where am I going to go?”

Money Island is not an island. It's a small village of modest homes and trailers in the wetlands of southern New Jersey where the Delaware River meets the Atlantic Ocean.  

Mayor Robert Campbell says ever since Hurricane Sandy there seems to be a concerted effort by regulatory agencies to force residents to move away from the coastline. Houses located in flood zones must be elevated. He says the county is imposing stricter sewage and septic standards, forcing residents to spend thousands of dollars to upgrade their systems.

“I don’t know what their agenda is but they are using all the regulatory powers that they have to scare and intimidate people along the bay and make them want to sell out to programs like Blue Acres,” he said.

Blue Acres is state program to buy houses in floods zones.  Renee Brecht, who is with the environmental organization The American Littoral Society, has been urging many in Money Island to move.  She's against governments spending millions of dollars to protect a small number of houses from rising sea levels.  

“I mean you can put up big sea walls and so forth but those things a lot of times will not only cost an enormous amount of money for tax payers but they also will only be a short term solution," she said. "So 20, 30 years down the road you’re back in the same position.”

Brecht says she would like to make much of the bay area a natural preserve like the Nature Conservancy’s restoration project in nearby South Cape May.

That project received some government funding and turned 86 hectares of abandoned homes into a wildlife habitat that protects the community from storms like Sandy.

“The dune actually held which was wonderful and protected the local town from the storm water coming in, the storm surge,” said Adrianna Zito Livingston, a project coordinator with the Nature Conservancy.

She says it will cost $35 million to maintain the Cape May preserve over the next 50 years. Which leaves many in Money Island wondering why it is worthwhile to spend millions to return these areas to nature but not to help the people who live there.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid