A recent article in the Science section of the New York Times titled “Rebuilding the Shores, Increasing the Risks” highlighted the financial costs of rebuilding coastal areas devastated by recent hurricanes. The article estimates about $75 billion in damages from Hurricane Sandy, coming only seven years after the $80 billion from Hurricane Katrina. This article also suggested expanding the Coastal Barrier Resources Act, passed in 1982. This bill originally declared that on sensitive coastlines that were then undeveloped, any future development would have to occur without federal subsidies.
“…we have to start weaning beach towns from the welfare roll. One way to begin…would be to identify the towns in the riskiest areas, the ones that the taxpayers keep bailing out again and again. Perhaps we say to them: You get one more shot. We will make you whole after the next big storm, and if you choose to use the money to rebuild, then you are on your own. Just maybe, in some areas that should never have been developed in the first place, the necessary retreat from the beaches would finally begin.”