On 10th Sandy Anniversary, Gov. Murphy & NJDEP Move Forward on Inland Flooding Rules

Media Contacts

Trenton – This morning, Governor Murphy with federal elected leaders and officials commemorated the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Sandy’s destruction across the state and at the Jersey Shore. Late yesterday, the Governor and NJDEP announced an pending proposal for the Inland Flood Protection Rule to better protect New Jersey’s communities from flooding and stormwater runoff. The proposed rule would update New Jersey’s existing flood hazard and stormwater regulations by replacing outdated rain estimates with modern data that accounts for observed and projected increases in rainfall. These changes would help to reduce flooding from stormwater runoff and increase the elevation by two feet in new developments in flood-risk inland areas.

Doug O’Malley, Director with Environment New Jersey, issued the following statement:

“The pictures of Shore communities devastated by the storm surge and the Seaside Heights roller coaster in the ocean are still haunting. But the story of Sandy was also about urban flooding in our cities, which was repeated with tragic results a year ago during Hurricane Ida.

Ten years ago, it was understandable to dismiss Sandy’s destruction as a one-off act of God. Now, with a legacy of increased storms and extreme weather events over the last decade, the question is not if your community will get hit, but when. And we can’t predict the flooding like we used to — coastal and inland communities in flood plains are getting hit worse than ever before, but the folk wisdom on which communities don’t flood is being swamped by historic rains from extreme weather.

Sandy was our wake-up call that climate change had loaded the dice of extreme weather and Ida was the fire bell that flooding could happen anywhere. We shouldn’t wait for the next storm to set off alarm bells – we know that flooding is going to get worse because of the impacts of climate change. The most obvious step is to use the most current flood data – and projections for future flooding – to make sure we are not building homes and businesses in harms’ way. We need new flooding rules as the minimum response to climate-induced flooding – trying to build more using flood data from the last century is a recipe for disaster.

Gov. Murphy’s proposal of these flood rules is exactly the right way to commemorate the legacy of Hurricane Sandy. These rules will set a benchmark for flood vulnerable communities – you need to plan for past and future storms to ensure we do not put people and communities directly in the path of future flood waters. We thank Governor Murphy for moving forward with these flooding rules and urge the quickest possible adoption of these rules, so we are not putting more people in danger.”