ENVIRONMENT

How federal disaster relief encouraged risky development along the coast

BY David Cruz, Senior Correspondent |

Long Beach Island was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy in 2012, but it wasn’t the first time the barrier island had been pummeled by a storm. Fifty years earlier, a nor’easter wreaked havoc on the coast, leveling homes in its wake. It was the kind of storm that might’ve kept people from coming back and rebuilding, and that would have pushed them to move farther inland. But it didn’t. In fact, more people came, with more money, and made even more risky investments.

But as development and climate change both intensify along the coast, who’s really paying the price? That question is at the center of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gilbert Gaul’s book “The Geography of Risk: Epic Storms, Rising Seas, and the Cost of America’s Coasts.” He recently spoke with NJTV Senior Correspondent David Cruz.