To Save America’s Coasts, Don’t Always Rebuild Them – New York Times

Aftermath of Hurricane Ian, September 28, 2022 (by Florida Fish and Wildlife CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 via Flickr)

Hurricane Ian is the latest devastating hurricane to confirm that coastal areas are failing to keep rebuilt or new development out of highly vulnerable areas.

Federal and state taxpayers have spent billions of dollars over the past four decades pumping up beaches in front of coastal properties in what are known as beach nourishment projects. In Florida alone, almost $3 billion in public funds has been spent just to keep beaches in front of investment homes and oceanfront infrastructure. Studies in Florida have shown that these beach projects increase oceanfront development. Government spending is incentivizing this expansion into danger zones — a classic example of moral hazard, in which there is no reason to protect against risk when the government or federally subsidized flood insurance is there to pick up the tab.

The Beach Boondoggle; Op Ed by Robert Young

Hurricane Matthew was not a megadisaster like Superstorm Sandy or Hurricane Katrina, but if precedent holds, simply rebuilding the beaches may cost federal taxpayers billions of dollars.

Rebuilding the Coastline, But at What Cost?

Nearly seven months after Hurricane Sandy decimated the northeastern coastline, destroying houses and infrastructure and dumping 11 billion gallons of untreated and partially treated sewage into rivers, bays, canals and even some streets, coastal communities have been racing against the clock to prepare for Memorial Day.

To Save a Beach, They May Ruin It

Florida led the nation in establishing detailed criteria for ensuring that only high-quality sand is placed on Florida beaches during construction of beach nourishment projects.