Green Party Says Environmental Concerns Must be Priority in Sandy Cleanup and Rebuilding Effort

 

The Green Party of New York State has called for environmental concerns to be a priority in the response to the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy.

“Failure to pay adequate attention to environmental concerns for decades is a major reason why this storm was so damaging. We need to make sure that the
Governor, Mayor and other officials don’t repeat this error when it comes to cleanup and rebuilding. Clearly Cuomo’s decision last year to waive
environmental rules in responding to the hurricane was a major mistake and should not be repeated,” said Ursula Rozum; Green Party Congressional candidate
from Syracuse. One of those tragic mistakes made was the improper development in flood plains and the filling of marshes and wetland in places like Staten
Island. Flooding would have been less if the marsh land had been left intact.

The Green Party said that the response in the downstate area should be a model for the rest of the country in how to begin the long process of adapting to
climate change.

Climate change is raising the sea level and making storms more severe and frequent, resulting in more damaging floods.

“All layers of government have to discourage rebuilding in the areas that will continue to flood due to future storms that are likely to increase in
severity. This includes not only homes on barrier islands and flood plains but also the city’s critical infrastructure, such as power plants and stations,
solid waste facilities, sewage treatment plants, and mass transit. We need to begin pulling such facilities back from areas subject to flooding and to
better protect them when they can’t be moved,” said Gloria Mattera; State Party co-chair.

The Green Party said that the process to determine how to best fortify the city and state to reduce the damage from future major storms needed to be
inclusive and transparent, with an effort to solicit input from the general public and environmental experts.

“What is the City and State doing to ensure proper handling of the mountains of construction debris? While we understand the need to remove it quickly,
once out of the area it should be properly sorted, recycled, reused and disposed of. The City and State also need to properly monitor and test for soil and
water contamination. As services are being restored and longer term relief efforts fall into place, there must be attention paid to public health and
environmental concerns in order to ensure that a disaster like Hurricane Sandy has an impact on our lives and our land for decades to come. Added Colin
Beavan; Green Party candidate for Congress from Brooklyn and creator of the “No Impact Project.”

The Green Party also called for an independent investigation of the delay by state and city officials and utility companies in responding to the storm,
which lefts millions without power and tens of thousands without housing.

Public officials have been too slow to respond to the dire situation hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers faced in getting access to basic necessities such
as food, housing, heat, and power. While the Greens applauded the grassroots community efforts across the metropolitan area, including by the Occupy
Movement, it said that the state and city should have been much better prepared to meet people’s needs particularly in light of the wide spread disruptions
caused by the major storms of last year.

Local green party activists are participating in relief efforts all over the city and are planning to help convene a meeting of groups interested in
looking at rebuilding from a climate change perspective.

Contact: Gloria Mattera 917-886-4538 or chair@gpny.org

Michael O’Neil 917-825-3562 or chair2@gpny.org

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