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Rob YoungWestern Carolina University geologist and coastal expert Rob Young is featured in a pair of new public radio stories at NPR and WNYC that highlight some problems with the Hurricane Sandy relief bill passed by the House in recent days.

Young’s main criticism: Spending billions to rebuild damaged beach communities just like they were before the storm is extremely shortsighted and wasteful. He isn’t saying the communities don’t deserve assistance or that they shouldn’t be rebuilt, but he does say that merely trucking in vast quantities of sand to put things back just like they were is absurd.

Young also argues convincingly Read More

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Western Carolina University Geology Professor Rob Young posted an excellent essay last week about federal Hurricane Sandy relief legislation and its inclusion of controversial provisions to rebuild the coast “as it was” prior to the storm.

“It may be that we, as a nation, decide that it is worth spending billions of dollars to rebuild this nation’s beaches, but the decision should not be taken quickly, or lightly. Such rebuilding projects will only provide temporary relief from rising sea levels and storms — we will need to spend the money again. And there should be full consideration of the science behind the design of each project and the environmental impacts, which the current bill ignores. Read More

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Some people took offense at yesterday’s attempt at satire regarding the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. In response to which all a body can say is: Would that they had taken offense to the real world actions of the North Carolina General Assembly on the subject of destructive Atlantic Ocean phenomena!

And speaking of the policy implications of the disastrous weather of recent days, this morning’s Weekly Briefing (“Who ya’ gonna’ call?”)  uses Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath as a means of raising the subject of our societal investment in public structures and systems and providing a reminder of how absolutely essential they are for the well-being of our economy and society generally.