Hurricane Sandy tore through the mid-Atlantic coastline of the United States late last year, devastating communities throughout the region. Today, I’m proud to share that the Obama Administration has announced the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy to ensure that those areas rebuild stronger than ever.
Our water treatment systems simply weren’t built to manage the record-breaking storms like Sandy that are becoming ever-more frequent. During the storm, floodwaters and loss of electricity combined to cause wastewater treatment plants to fail up and down the mid-Atlantic coast — sending billions of gallons of raw and partially treated sewage into the region’s waterways and endangering people’s health. In addition, many water utilities lost power, disrupting their ability to provide safe drinking water to area residents.
Today, with the announcement of the Rebuilding Strategy, we are taking a critical step to help enhance our resilience to future storms. The strategy lays out crucial, practical steps to use the tremendous potential of green infrastructure and smart growth practices and aims to include all communities – particularly the most disadvantaged – into long range planning.
Sandy will certainly not be the last storm to hit the northeast, but the Administration’s actions will help keep the next storm of Sandy’s size from causing the overwhelming destruction we saw last year. The Strategy will help ensure that the millions of people who call these communities home will continue to receive the clean water they expect and deserve – no matter the weather.
We know that no single weather event is attributable to climate change, but we have to accept that storms like Sandy are becoming more frequent.
We must begin to adapt to our changing climate now. Earlier this summer, President Obama released his Climate Action Plan to help – in part – ensure that our communities are resilient and our infrastructure strong. Enhancing our resiliency to storms like Sandy will help better protect people’s health and the environment, safeguard our natural resources and create jobs across the country.