With sea levels rising, environmental officials are investigating ways to cope. In an interview on NJ Today, New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin spoke about the DEP’s report for 2020 and its draft for 2050 as part of the Global Warming Response Act that looks at concerns such as rising seas. Martin also discussed responses to flooding, how the state budget will impact the DEP, the Superfund site in Garfield and the DEP’s work going forward.
Martin said the DEP is investigating how the state can adapt to rising sea levels in the long term, including raising homes and changes in the population. When asked if people will have to evacuate areas along the shoreline, Martin said in the distant future that might be necessary, but not in the short term. He also said more information is necessary to make an assessment.
“What we’re doing primarily at the DEP right now is looking at a lot of the studies, a lot of the science that’s coming in — not just from the United States, but around the world — to understand the magnitude of the problem,” he explained.
When it comes to flooding in other areas of the state, which was abundant last year after Tropical Storm Irene affected many areas, Martin said the government has laid out a 15-point plan based on the Flood Commission Report that came out from the Passaic River Basin. He explained that a short-term solution is to buy out homes in flood prone areas and raise others.
“Just this year alone, we’re going to buy 540 homes. We’re also going to raise the elevation on 106 homes,” he said. “We started that.”