FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 20, 2013
IN SPEECH TO ABNY, SCHUMER OUTLINES SANDY ‘PHASE TWO’ – LONG-TERM PLAN TO PROTECT NEW YORK FROM FUTURE STORMS
Billions In Aid Needed To Protect New York Over The Long-Term Will Be Harder To Obtain Than First Sandy Bill - But Every Bit As Important To The Future Of NY
Congress Provided Money for First Step, A Comprehensive Study To Protect New York – Funding Implementation Will Be A Monumental Task
In Speech, Schumer Said The Same Coalition Of New Yorkers Who Helped Move First Sandy Aid Bill Will Have To “Get The Band Back Together”
New York, NY – U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today outlined how dollars from the recently passed Sandy aid bill will benefit New York and New Yorkers, and the next steps that need to be taken. The legislation authorized a comprehensive Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE)-lead study to determine exactly what major infrastructure projects need to be completed to protect the coastline. Schumer said that securing funding to implement these projects, once the study is complete, will be difficult – potentially even more difficult than passing the first Sandy Aid bill. He said that though it is difficult, implementing the ACOE plan is critically important to the future of New York. He said that the same coalition of New Yorkers who helped get the first aid bill passed will have to get back together to fight for the resources to implement the ACOE study.
We knew that to get this bill through the Senate and particularly the House, it would take some external pressure. So we came up with a plan to ask some of the major Republican contributors in New York to get on the phone and call Mitch McConnell on the Senate side and Speaker Boehner and Eric Cantor on the House side and pressure him not to block the bill, or force us to make major cuts in it. And it worked. The effort kicked off in mid-December with the goal of fully leveraging the relationships of New York. I worked hand in hand with Ken Langone, Lloyd Blankfein, Stephen Schwartzman, Henry Kravis, Terry Lundgren and many others to identify relationships we could use to make sure this bill moved.
All of this Sandy funding I just detailed will be a good first step to help New York recover. However, it is the equivalent a budgetary one shot. And as we move forward with short-term mitigation we need to simultaneously focus on Phase 2 – a long-term plan to protect New York from future storms, weather related disasters and rising sea-levels.
New York can’t wait to sort through 3 or 4 separate plans. There must be one comprehensive and central plan. The Army Corps study will provide this and should be the main vehicle that will lead to the long-term protection of New York. It should be our north star when it comes to protecting New York from future storms.
Local collaboration is so important because we do not want the Army Corps to operate in a vacuum. Rather, they must prioritize what is important to New Yorkers. One priority which is of upmost importance to me, and I’m sure many in this room, is the protection of our central business districts and transportation systems.
We cannot expect central business districts like Lower Manhattan to be raised on stilts – something that will be a focus in neighborhoods with a high density of single-family homes. Instead we must be given plenty of options so we can prioritize hardening and adopting infrastructure in these central business districts to be resilient. The Army Corps must recognize how important central business districts are to New York and I’m calling on the Corps to give them the priority they deserve in this study.
The real lynchpin is how we go from a $20M Army Corps study to starting the construction of protection projects that the Army Corps recommends. We’ve hired the architect, and now we have to secure the funding for the contractor. This is Phase 2 of Sandy recovery. And it is a massive task. It will require billions in additional aid that will be even harder to obtain than the first Sandy Bill. So we need to get to work immediately.
But let me be clear New York faces an increasingly uphill political battle for resources. And we’ll have a massive ask – billions and billions of dollars. So our fight is really just beginning. It is a fight that all New Yorkers need to be part of and one we need to acknowledge and start preparing for now.
We need the business community, public interest and planning groups, and local government to start thinking about how we fund the protection of New York in the long term. We will need to follow the same model we used to pass this bill. They may not care about us politically, but we need to leverage the relationships and the resources they need. That means that the folks in this room will once again have to get back on the phone. Get back on email. And continue the relationships that proved so valuable in the fight of Sandy Phase 1.
A full copy of his remarks, as prepared, can we found below:
It’s great to be here this morning. I want to thank ABNY and Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association for hosting me, and my good friend, and ally, Bill Rudin for that introduction.
This morning I will discuss Hurricane Sandy aid and rebuilding but also a subject that is just as important - how we pivot to Phase 2 of rebuilding and create a long-term plan to protect New York from future storms, rising seas and global warming.
In the beginning of my speech I’ll discuss the long and difficult path – a path that we all walked together, day in and day out – to get $60B in aid for New York. I’ll also touch on what’s in the bill that will help our City and our State recover and rebuild stronger.
The second part of my speech will address the Phase 2 of rebuilding - how we protect our City for years to come from future storms, rising seas and global warming. I made sure that Congress provided money in the Sandy bill for an important but not very expensive first step of Phase 2 - a comprehensive Army Corps study to protect New York. This study will deliver the recommendation and steps we need to take to protect New York.
That’s when the hard work begins. We will need Billions in aid to protect New York over the long-term. And this is a monumental task. It will be even harder to obtain than the first Sandy bill, but it is every bit as important to the future of New York.
So our work to protect New York has just begun. Even though we’ve got the $60B for sandy we know that our seas are rising, our planet is getting warmer, and storms like Sandy are more frequent. We can’t let parts of New York get swept away – our city is too important. For all of us this City is in our blood and our veins. So we can’t wait another 2, or 5, or 10 years before we begin to put in place permanent protection. Now is the time to seize the opportunity
WHAT FEDERAL SUPPORT MEANS FOR NY
We’ve suffered two terrible disasters in the past 12 years. While they are different - 9/11 was man-made, Sandy was natural; and on 9/11 we suffered a much greater loss of life, while Sandy had a bigger economic impact - there are many analogies to be made.
New York suffered a terrible emotional and physical blow on 9/11. It was an event that shocked New York, the country, and the world. However, I don’t think New Yorkers ever felt alone after 9/11 – America rallied to us and we felt the true support of an entire country behind us.
But there was real concern that a mass exodus would occur and render Lower Manhattan a ghost town. This was a scenario that I was deathly afraid of and I knew we would need a big investment to revive and provide a shot of adrenaline to Downtown.
The $20B commitment came swiftly and showed the world that America had double downed on New York as its economic and cultural capital. As New Yorkers, we were determined to build back stronger and prove that an act of terror would not best our resolve as America’s greatest city.
We are now seeing that investment pay off with a revitalized Lower Manhattan. We rebuilt our transportation infrastructure and the federal government helped finance the construction of the new World Trade Center – all benefits we are starting to see and realize today.
Many businesses have committed to Downtown and many more continue to do so as new office buildings and transportation hubs approach completion. But what is most amazing is that Lower Manhattan has flourished as both a jobs center and a residential neighborhood. Even as the Freedom Tower and Four World Trade Center near completion and fill up in tenants, three times as many people are now living downtown than did before 9/11; this is a testament to how well this investment has paid off.
More recently New York has seen the benefits of the Stimulus investments in projects like East Side Access, Second Avenue Subway, and Moynihan Station. I also take special pride in the 7 train extension which is opening up the West Side of Manhattan to development and investment. Envisioned long ago during the Group of 35 Report that I commissioned in 1997, Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council under Speaker Quinn, have done a terrific job delivering this project for New York.
Put all of these projects together and you begin to see the framework of a 21st century post 9/11 New York City. It is no wonder then why private investment is flowing at historical levels into places like the Hudson Yards, Downtown Brooklyn, Long Island City and the Financial District.
After 9/11 the federal government re-invested in and rebuilt New York, and the private sector support followed. We know this model works.
HOW SANDY SUPPORT WAS PASSED
The model of 9/11 is important as we turn to our current crisis, Hurricane Sandy. After 9/11 we needed a quick and massive commitment of federal aid to reassure New Yorkers that we would rebuild and come back stronger.
We faced that exact challenge following Sandy. Just as I was afraid that Lower Manhattan would become a ghost town following 9/11, the prospect of abandoning our shorelines would scare any New Yorker who knows how connected we are to our harbor.
We all know that in the years following the passage of the federal programs to help us rebound from 9/11 – programs that have been vital to New York –a group of far right members have come to Washington with the exclusive goal of shrinking the government, regardless of the consequences or human costs. And at great cost to coherent, long-term strategic planning.
Emergency funds for New York were almost a casualty of this movement following Hurricane Sandy. For New Yorkers – and many others around the country – this was inexplicable as we longed to see the same swift commitment made after 9/11.
While it’s important that Congress tackle our budget and deficit issues – issues that need serious examination and action – disaster aid should not in anyway be put on the chopping block. That’s just not who we are.
The federal government has always stepped in to provide much needed support following disasters – man-made or natural.
Particularly after a storm that was as broad and deep as Sandy the only adequate response could come from the federal government, leveraging all the resources at its disposal.
However, as many of you in this audience know it was an intense, hard fight to get the response New York deserved. In fact it was a much, much harder fight than 9/11 recovery funding.
As President Bush did after 9/11, President Obama quickly came to visit and see the damage first hand so that his Administration could plan an adequate response.
The President’s request to Congress helped set the goalposts for what we in Congress could work toward, so it was important that the request was both financially adequate but also one that provided funding in the necessary areas.
While the Administration was shaping the request I had daily conversations with Shaun Donovan, HUD Secretary and the head of the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force. Shaun, a New Yorker and former Commissioner of NYC HPD, really understood our needs and he deserves a lot of credit for his work.
The week after Sandy hit I invited Shaun and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to dinner in Brooklyn. At that dinner, at the excellent Grocery Restaurant on Smith Street in Brooklyn, the three of us came up with an outline of both the form and the function of New York’s request.
On form, we agreed that it must be a joint request from New York and New Jersey. We didn’t want the two states competing for funding, but rather wanted to create a broad coalition with strong allies from both parties. This turned out to be the right move as we were very glad to have Governor Christy, a Republican, on board. He was always available to us and showed he wasn’t afraid to take on his own party at crucial moments.
On function, I stressed that we could not have a bill that only allowed us to build back as we were before the storm. It was clear to me that any good bill would require plenty of funding for mitigation so we could build back stronger.
Coordinating with my colleagues, Senators Gillibrand, Lautenberg and Menendez, we were also in constant contact with other key officials, such as OMB Director Jeff Zients, shaping what would become the official Presidential request.
Along the way we in the delegation did have some concerns that the number might not be big enough to meet New York’s broad and deep needs. We expressed those concerns to administration officials on numerous occasions, and they were very, very receptive.
In fact the evening before the request was submitted and after consulting with Governors Cuomo and Christy and Mayor Bloomberg my colleagues and I sat down with Donovan and Zients in my office till 11PM. There was a lot of give and take in the lead-up to the administration submitting their $60 billion package, but in the end we drove home our points and got a very solid number. Just as it did after 9/11 the federal government showed it was willing to make a massive investment in New York.
As I mentioned we viewed mitigation as a key function of aid and pushed hard to secure an adequate amount. In other past disasters FEMA and other agencies would reimburse homeowners, transportation agencies, hospitals and local governments, but only if they replaced exactly what was destroyed. We insisted there be ample to go beyond reimbursement and fund mitigation.
In total over $7B was secured for mitigation. This includes:
FTA – Funding will allow the MTA rebuild tunnels and subways back better and more water resistant. Switches from damaged electrical systems can be replaced with new, state-of-the art equipment. They will have the ability to invest in things like re-sealable plugs that fit over subway and tunnel entrances so the system will have added resiliency should another natural disaster occur.
Elevating Houses with CDBG – I saw first hand that homes, even at the water’s edge, that were elevated a couple feet fared much better in the storm. With CDBG we will give homeowners funding not only to rebuild, but also to raise their home at the same time. It’s much smarter to provide $140k vs. $100k if it means elevating to protect against the next storm.
Coop and Condos – Are not treated the same as individual homeowners by FEMA. Therefore they have received zero grants to repair damaged building infrastructure like replacing boilers or electrical systems. That can change under CDBG.
Hospitals – So many of our hospitals, including NYU, Bellevue and Coney Island, suffered massive damage because electrical systems and expensive machinery was located in basements. CDBG can cover the cost of equipment relocation to higher floors and will be well worth it. It can also help provide for lost revenue for empty beds.
Small Businesses – Also have lost revenue. CDBG can also provide grants rather than SBA loans and provide money for business interruption.
Utilities – Con Ed and LIPA can receive CDBG funding to better insulate our power supply from future storms.
After the Administration delivered a very strong request we knew that the real battle was just beginning – getting just as strong a bill passed in the Senate and the House.
Look, there was nothing in the Senate bill that wasn’t disaster related. Nothing. Traditionally in disaster bills money for items that would help other states rebuild from PAST disasters are included. It’s partly what helped us attract such broad bipartisan support in the Senate.
I spoke to almost every one of my colleagues and made sure they understood that disaster aid is something that we do in this country, and have done for 100 years.
Denying a region disaster aid was not a precedent anyone should want to set. I reminded colleague after colleague that after all the changes in climate that if disaster hit their state next and they set a precedent that the federal government shouldn’t be involved at all, or in a far less extensive way, they would rue the day they voted against us. And I really believe it was that argument, made forcefully and repeatedly, that brought many people around to our side.
We drove our needs and our message home through the work of everyone in this room – the work of ABNY, the Partnership, Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Cuomo, the business community, and civic-minded New Yorkers.
We knew that to get this bill through the Senate and particularly the House, it would take some external pressure. So we came up with a plan to ask some of the major Republican contributors in New York to get on the phone and call Mitch McConnell on the Senate side and Speaker Boehner and Eric Cantor on the House side and pressure him not to block the bill, or force us to make major cuts in it. And it worked.
The effort kicked off in mid-December with the goal of fully leveraging the relationships of New York. I worked hand in hand with Ken Langone, Lloyd Blankfein, Stephen Schwartzman, Henry Kravis, Terry Lundgren and many others to identify relationships we could use to make sure this bill moved.
Chief executives at Macy's, JetBlue and Viacom also instructed their staff across the country to reach out to their local federal lawmakers in support of Sandy aid.
Working with Kathy Wylde and the Partnership for New York City we organized 125 chief executives to sign on to a letter to congressional leaders.
Strange as it might seem Eric Cantor really became our champion in the House. He was honorable throughout this whole process, we spoke frequently, and he was a real asset to New York in the House. When Speaker Boehner pulled the vote on New Year’s Day, pulling the rug out from under us, it was Eric Cantor who called me and pledged that the vote would be held in the early days of the new Congress.
Governor Christy was a key ally on the other side of the aisle who proved to be a tremendous asset. And, of course, Pete King and Michael Grimm took on their own party. I spoke to these guys every day.
New Yorkers fought for their fair share. Many people in this room and their friends and allies fought for the results they wanted from Washington. And New York won with this bill.
SANDY PHASE 2 – PREVENTING REOCCURING DAMAGE FROM FUTURE WEATHER RELATED DISASTERS
All of this Sandy funding I just detailed will be a good first step to help New York recover. However, it is the equivalent a budgetary one shot. And as we move forward with short-term mitigation we need to simultaneously focus on Phase 2 – a long-term plan to protect New York from future storms, weather related disasters and rising sea levels.
This $60B will provided a needed infusion, but once spent New York will once again be left to fend for itself.
The mitigation projects we undertake with the $60B Sandy funding will make the damage from a future storm less severe and may delay, at least for a few years, the disastrous affect that rising sea levels will have on our city. But mitigation money will not inoculate and protect us from a future Sandy or the ruinous impact that sea level rise will have in low lying areas like New York.
So we must look to the future. The best way to protect ourselves from needing budget one-shots is to prevent the damage in the first place.
I agree with many who have said that this was not a once in a lifetime storm, but rather a new fact of life that we must deal with. Our planet is getting warmer, more water is in our atmosphere and seas are rising. This past September NASA satellites revealed that the polar ice caps are at record minimums measuring almost 300,000 square miles less than the previous smallest size.
There is a real urgency to start planning for New York’s long-term protection now because we face much more frequent storms and rising seas.
There is a part of the Sandy Bill that gives us that opportunity and we must take advantage. It is a fraction of the billions we’ve secured, but may be the most valuable piece of the bill years from now.
I’m taking about $20 million dollars in funding for a comprehensive Army Corps coastal protection study that I insisted be added to the bill. This study will focus on the need for additional protection in New York Harbor and examine the feasibility of all coastal protection possibilities.
The Army Corps will examine structural storm surge barriers like sea walls, tide gates, pumping stations and levees, but also non-structural ecosystem restoration options like dunes, beach nourishment, floodways and wetland and marsh restoration. The scientists will look at all the options out there and provide a range of options – some of which we envision and some of which we haven’t – for how we protect our infrastructure in a smart way.
Both New York City and New York State have already started thinking about the long term regional infrastructure needs with PlaNYC and NYS 2100 Commission, respectively, and both Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Como, via work with Rockefeller Foundation, should be commended for doing so. The Mayor’s Office has also created a Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency that will be issuing its findings in May.
All of these efforts provide excellent starting points and prove the importance of thinking big and for the long-term.
However, New York can’t wait to sort through 3 or 4 separate plans. There must be one comprehensive and central plan. The Army Corps study will provide this and should be the main vehicle that will lead to the long-term protection of New York.
It should be our north star when it comes to protecting New York from future storms.
Let me explain why,
First, the Army Corps are the experts on regional coastal protection. They can draw on years of engineering experience and knowhow to provide recommendations based in the best science available.
Second, delivering a truly regional protection plan will demand the resources of the federal government, and this study will result in specific recommendations that can lead to federally authorized projects. The Army Corps has the congressional mandate to deliver the types of projects New York will need. Once we have a concrete plan from a federal agency we will be better positioned to make our case for funding to Congress.
And third, the experiences of Louisiana and Mississippi working with the Army Corps after Katrina provides us with a real path forward and lessons for what New York needs to do to be successful.
While the Army Corps should lead this planning effort, it must be collaborative. I think we can all agree that we want to avoid multiple competing plans, but we absolutely must have priorities of local stakeholders included.
As I said previously the City and State have done a good job in their initial efforts to think about how New York rebuilds in a smart, thoughtful and detailed manner. They can work on their own plans but they must feed them into the Corps study.
And the Army Corps must convene with these local stakeholders to strategize intelligently and be inclusive of their priorities - this process cannot happen exclusively at a federal level. The Army Corps plan will only work with the cooperation and assent of the City and State.
Above all they must avoid the bureaucratic arrogance all too common of federal agencies.
PRIORITY OF CORE BUSINESS DISTRICTS
Local collaboration is so important because we do not want the Army Corps to operate in a vacuum. Rather, they must prioritize what is important to New Yorkers.
One priority which is of upmost importance to me, and I’m sure many in this room, is the protection of our central business districts and transportation systems
Our central business districts – where people work and how they get there - are the life-blood of this City’s economic engine.
Look at what happened after Sandy – much of lower Manhattan’s Class A and Class B office space was closed for business for many weeks and many months. Some are buildings are still not open. In Brooklyn, the burgeoning tech community of DUMBO had over 500 companies, mainly start-ups and creative firms, that relocated for similar periods of time. While at the Brooklyn Navy Yard dozens and dozens of small businesses, many of them manufactures, suffered $75M in losses to equipment, inventory and business interruption.
If New York wants to maintain its place as a top destination for finance, as well as, entrepreneurs and world-class talent we must signal that we will do everything we can to stay open for business.
And we must make it clear to all those businesses that are now questioning staying in or moving to Sandy-hit districts that we understand they are the beating heart of our economy, and they will be one of our top priorities.
We cannot expect central business districts like Lower Manhattan to be raised on stilts – something that will be a focus in neighborhoods with a high density of single-family homes. Instead we must be given plenty of options so we can prioritize hardening and adopting infrastructure in these central business districts to be resilient.
The Army Corps must recognize how important central business districts are to New York and I’m calling on the Corps to give them the priority they deserve in this study.
NEW YORK CITY LEADERS WILL NEED TO PUSH CONGRESS TO AUTHORIZE BILLIONS OF ADDITIONAL DOLLARS TO INNOCULATE US AGAINST FUTURE SANDYS AND THE AFFECTS OF GLOBAL WARMING
I’ve spent a good deal of time discussing the need for a study, but the real lynchpin is how we go from a $20M Army Corps study to starting the construction of protection projects that the Army Corps recommends. We’ve hired the architect, and now we have to secure the funding for the contractor.
This is Phase 2 of Sandy recovery. And it is a massive task. It will require billions in additional aid that will be even harder to obtain than the first Sandy Bill. So we need to get to work immediately.
First, we have to make sure the Army Corps study is completed in a timely fashion. The bill called for it to be completed in 24 months, but we should push for even faster timeframe because the need is so great. There’s no reason why it can’t be done in 18 months.
We also have to learn from the experiences Louisiana and Mississippi faced while building up their protections following Katrina so that New York has better and faster results. It will not be easy.
Mississippi completed a coastal study in January 2010, yet three years later no funding for the long-term protection projects has been secured. We need to be more like Louisiana, who got their money – $15B worth – and was able to deliver a new and improved levee system through new construction and a series of upgrades to existing infrastructure.
Louisiana will be strongly protected against future storms and rising oceans, but Mississippi will not.
So we can’t just rest on the laurels of receiving $60B. This funding may let us rebuild and take short-term mitigation steps, but we must not lose sight of the need to secure funding for our long-term protection.
We must be ready to mobilize and descend upon Washington in a year or two when the Army Corps completes its study and there are concrete protection recommendations for us to get funded.
But let me be clear New York faces an increasingly uphill political battle for resources. And we’ll have a massive ask – billions and billions of dollars
So our fight is really just beginning. It is a fight that all New Yorkers need to be part of and one we need to acknowledge and start preparing for now.
We had all New Yorkers on board to get the Sandy aid bill passed. And while we should celebrate that accomplishment – it was a great accomplishment that will help us rebuild – the much harder fight will be to get the funding that can yield protection projects that will defend our City against another Sandy and rising seas.
There’s no greater task facing us. This is the most beautiful city in the world. Those of us who live here love it. It’s in our bones.
But 10 years from now we don’t want to stand here and have conventional wisdom be that New York is vulnerable because it didn’t plan for the future and it isn’t protected. In 10 years we don’t want businesses to say we better locate somewhere else because New York is too low-lying an area given sea level rise. Nor do we want entrepreneurs or immigrants to say we don’t want to come to New York because it has no future.
We faced this urgency 12 years ago after 9/11, and we overcame it. Now, with super storms, sea rise and global warming staring us down we need to take up arms and protect our City now – not 2 or 5 or 10 years from now – but immediately.
We’ve grown from 7M people in 1992 to 8.5M in 2012. But it could all turn around if conventional wisdom is that frequent storms and rising seas limit our future.
Without this urgency the beautiful experiment of New York City, that we all love and want our children to love will be no more.
So New York must not only be mobilized when disasters strike. We need the business community, public interest and planning groups, and local government to start thinking about how we fund the protection of New York in the long term.
We will need to follow the same model we used to pass this bill.
They may not care about us politically, but we need to leverage the relationships and the resources they need.
That means that the folks in this room will once again have to get back on the phone. Get back on email. And continue the relationships that proved so valuable in the fight of Sandy Phase 1.
We need to act on the not immediate, but important. One of my mentors, Tony Genovesi taught me about the four types of tasks in the time management box. There’s important and unimportant and immediate and not immediate. Sandy Part 2 is the important but not immediate task. But it is so important that we have to start thinking about it now, even if it isn’t immediate.
Let me now end with two quotes.
The first is one that I’m sure many of you are familiar with. It is delivered over and over again by John Belusi and Dan Akroid in the movie Blues Brothers. On their mission Jake Blues tells potential band recruits “We’re putting the band back together” to which Elwood Blues responds “We’re on a mission from God.”
Getting through this next step will no doubt require getting the band back together, and pressuring some of the same people we pushed last time.
Second, is one that immediately came to my mind while discussing with my staff how we go from an Army Corps study to completed projects that will protect New York. I told them that this fight we face will be the “Slow boring of boards” from Max Weber. I looked up the whole passage after the discussion and I think it perfectly summarizes the task in front of us.
“Politics is a strong and slow boring of hard boards. It takes both passion and perspective. Certainly all historical experience confirms the truth - that man would not have attained the possible unless time and again he had reached out for the impossible. But to do that a man must be a leader, and not only a leader but a hero as well, in a very sober sense of the word. And even those who are neither leaders nor heroes must arm themselves with that steadfastness of heart which can brave even the crumbling of all hopes. This is necessary right now, or else men will not be able to attain even that which is possible today.”
We want our city to last for hundreds of years. The federal government spent a fortune fortifying New Orleans. Now they need to do it here so we can be a model for other coastal cities around world. Our future is tied to our shores and ports. The future is in front of us; and it is a future with stronger storms and rising seas levels, and we must protect New York for the future.