Henri Provides a Reminder of Past Northeast Resilience Mistakes
Tropical Storm Henri’s drenching of several Northeast regions exposed vulnerabilities that vary by state.
The scenarios are familiar, and expect to repeat over the next couple of months, according to climate resilience expert Alan Rubin. And that could jeopardize state and city credit.
“There’s a problem here,” said Rubin, a principal at Blank Rome Government Relations LLC and co-head of its severe weather emergency recovery team.
Rubin said issuers should follow BRIC, or Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities principles that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has established to help reduce risks from disasters and hazards. “If they’re not doing that, they’re going to have major problems with their credit ratings,” he said.
The CARES Act federal rescue plan that Congress passed in March 2020 provides an additional $45 billion to FEMA’s disaster relief fund, more than doubling the amount available to support presidential emergency and disaster declarations.
“There’s plenty of money in the system,” Rubin said.
Lessons from the past, notably Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, still don’t resonate enough, according to Rubin. The megastorm inflicted an estimated $20 billion of damage to the city.
“What jumps out at me in New York City is that we still face the kinds of issues we had with Hurricane Sandy, and that was almost 10 years ago,” Rubin said.
“Flooding is still a major problem. We saw eight inches of rain so storms are still problematic. Within 48 hours of a storm, you should clean all your storm drainage.”
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“Henri Provides a Reminder of Past Northeast Resilience Mistakes,” by Paul Burton was published in The Bond Buyer on August 24, 2021.