9:21 am Feb. 21, 2013
In a speech to business leaders yesterday, Sen. Chuck Schumer said a key to securing New York's coastline from future storms is for state and local governments to defer to a comprehensive study conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers.
"New York can’t wait to sort through three or four separate plans," Schumer said, in a speech to the Association for a Better New York. "There must be one comprehensive and central plan. The Army Corps study will provide this and should be the main vehicle that will lead to the long-term protection of New York. It should be our north star when it comes to protecting New York from future storms."
Schumer praised the business community for its role in helping pass the $60 billion aid request that was finally approved last month. He specifically thanked some local Republican donors, including Home Depot founder Ken Langone, Goldman Sachs C.E.O. Lloyd Blankfein, Blackstone chairman Stephen Schwartzman, and others, for providing "external pressure" on reluctant Republicans.
But Schumer said the $60 billion was the "equivalent of a budgetary one-shot," and more would be required to safeguard the state against the inevitability of future storms.
Schumer said he agreed with those who believe the changing climate is a new fact of life, and that a recent NASA satellite image that showed dwindling polar ice caps "should have scared everybody."
He called on New York to act more like Louisiana than Mississippi.
"Both were devastated in Katrina. Louisiana put together a plan and got $15 billion dollars," he said, adding, "Mississippi had a study and hasn't been funded yet. They're naked."
Schumer said the next phase of Sandy recovery would be a "massive task"
"It will require billions in additional aid that will be even harder to obtain than the first Sandy Bill," he said. "So we need to get to work immediately."