NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A massive, and expensive, sea wall is being considered to protect New York and New Jersey from storm surges, but the idea and the cost have critics.
A massive sea wall is the most expensive proposal that the Corps is now considering. The 6-mile-long barrier with retractable gates would stretch from the Rockaways in Queens across New York Harbor to New Jersey to protect the area.
The cost alone could sink the proposal. Right now, the estimated price tag is $119 billion.
President Donald Trump has already mocked the plan, calling it costly, foolish and environmentally unfriendly. The president says instead, New Yorkers will “just have to get your mops and buckets ready!”
A massive 200 Billion Dollar Sea Wall, built around New York to protect it from rare storms, is a costly, foolish & environmentally unfriendly idea that, when needed, probably won’t work anyway. It will also look terrible. Sorry, you’ll just have to get your mops & buckets ready!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2020
Some people who spoke to CBS2’s Nick Caloway say the cost is worth it if the wall protects the city from future storms.
“We just know this is coming. Something’s going to come. So why don’t we try to have a little foresight?” said Margaret Sinozich, of Maplewood, New Jersey.
“If it’s going to save New York. We don’t want another Sandy. I know some people were complaining about how it would look, but I’d rather be alive. You know?” Manhattan resident Brian Rodriguez said.
But some environmental groups are pushing back against the idea of barrier walls altogether, saying it could harm marine life.
It could also cause a stinky sewage situation. When it rains a lot in New York City, excess sewage is released into the waterways.
“Essentially what the storm surge barriers would do is they would trap all that extra sewage inside with us. So we really would be, for a while, sitting in a bathtub of our own excrement,” said Kimberly Ong, senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Ong adds that while a barrier could protect some parts of New York City from storm surges, other communities could see worse flooding.
Critics also point out that a barrier wall with gates that are open most of the time doesn’t do anything to address rising sea levels, an issue that New York and other coastal cities are now forced to grapple with.
Another big obstacle for that massive project is funding. Who would pick up the $119 billion tab? Some early suggestions say federal, state and city dollars would all be needed.