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Presidential Task Force Warns Coastal Residents to Plan for Future Storms

In a recent report released by the Hurricane Sandy Task Force, 69 policy recommendations are made to encourage homeowners and companies to rebuild in a smarter way, and to prepare for future violent storms.

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A task force put together by President Barack Obama in order to rebuild and support communities affected by Hurricane Sandy released a report on Monday with 69 policy recommendations that focus around preparing homes for more severe storms in the future due to climate change.

The Hurricane Sandy Task Force was designed to work with federal, state, and local officials in addition to the private sector, non-profit, community, and philanthropic organizations in order to promote recovery and prevent further damage by taking steps to make coastal communities stronger.

 “We have cut red tape, piloted cutting edge programs and strengthened our partnership with state and local officials," President Obama said in a press release. "While a great amount of work remains, we will stand with the region for as long as it takes to recover."

The report warns coastal residents to assume that intense storms will happen more frequently and to invest in protective measures.  The plan also calls for the development of a more advanced electrical grid that will be better able to withstand the weather and demands of a crisis like Superstorm Sandy.

“Decision makers at all levels must recognize that climate change and the resulting increase in risks from extreme weather have eliminated the option of simply building back to outdated standards and expecting better outcomes after the next extreme event,” the task force report says.  Instead, the task force provides ways for the region to rebuild in a way that “makes it more resilient – that is, better able to withstand future storms and other risks posed by a changing climate.”

The report calls for the reform of federal mortgage policies so that homeowners can receive insurance checks faster so that they can get back on their feet.  The task force is also pushing for more groups to be eligible for the Small Business Administration’s disaster loan program.

“President Obama was clear that his Administration is committed to staying in the Sandy-impacted region until the work was done, and today marks a crucial step in that journey,” said U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary and Task Force Chairman Shaun Donovan. “This Rebuilding Strategy will protect families, small businesses and communities across the region, and the taxpayers’ investment in them, from the risks posed by sea level rise and more extreme weather events – risks that are made worse by the reality of a changing climate.”

Click here for the full Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy.

[Source: Press Release, Hurricane Sandy Task Force Report]