At a Covid and Hurricane Ida-focused press briefing today, Gov. Phil Murphy brought up the possibility of the state buying residential properties in areas heavily threatened by flooding and other natural disasters, thus giving residents the resources to move to less dangerous areas.
“[Disaster mitigation] has got to be creative – it can’t just be barriers and levies,” Murphy said. “It may include buying people out and acknowledging that this part of a community – there’s no amount of mitigation we can put in place that is going to keep them from the reality of what we’re seeing, which is the intensity and the frequency of storms.”
Murphy’s suggestion, though still far from a settled policy, refers the state’s Blue Acres program, in which the state reserved $300 million to purchase homes damaged by Superstorm Sandy at pre-storm value.
A revival of Blue Acres has “got to be an option on the table,” Murphy said. “[I] don’t say this with any amount of glee, because people bought those homes, they raised their families there, they’ve got memories. I have spoken to a fair number of people, including mayors, who have said, enough is enough.”