At $30B and counting, Sandy joins ranks of most expensive hurricanes
But the R Street Institute, a free-market think tank, says that outcome would ensure that “the impacts of the next Sandy would be even greater.”
The group, which counts environmental organizations as allies, believes that a large federal catastrophe insurance program could encourage development in areas prone to hurricanes and other risks. Indeed, insurers point to the rapid rise of buildings in exposed areas as a key reason behind the climbing costs of disasters.
“The federal government should not be subsidizing environmentally destructive development or encouraging people to live in harm’s way,” said R Street President Eli Lehrer in a statement.
Instead, Lehrer suggests that Congress use the Coastal Barrier Resources Act of 1982 as a template for reducing damage. The law prohibits federal funding of roads, wastewater systems and other infrastructure along 3.1 million acres of coastal land. Lehrer noted that New Jersey’s barrier islands were built up before the law was passed.
“The images we’ve all seen of the coastal barrier destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy make abundantly clear precisely what the law was created to avoid,” Lehrer said.