Housing Advocate Claims Sandy Recovery Grants Racially Biased

Black and Latino applicants for Sandy aid in New Jersey are more likely to be rejected for recovery grants than white applicants, according to data released Thursday by a New Jersey housing advocate. The rejection rate for whites who applied for New Jersey’s two main grants for homeowners affected by Sandy was 13 to 14 percent. For Latinos, it was slightly higher – 18 to 20 percent; African Americans had the highest rejection rates at 35 to 38 percent…"I would say, in terms of disaster response, it’s the worst time for governments to really try to get [its programs] right," said Karen O’Neill, a human ecology professor at Rutgers University who’s been following the Sandy response. "Because getting it right with disadvantaged communities is a problem any day of the week for any ongoing programs, [and] these are one-time programs."

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Rutgers Conference Questions What New Jersey Learned from Sandy

More extreme storms are likely, but what has state done to safeguard people and property? How well is New Jersey coping with the lessons taught by Hurricane Sandy — a superstorm that caused at least $30 billion in damage and took the lives of 34 people? That issue surfaced repeatedly yesterday at the inaugural conference held by the newly established Rutgers Climate Institute: "Bridging the Climate Divide: Informing the Response to Hurricane Sandy and Implications for Future Vulnerability…" "Might it happen again? Yes," said David Robinson, a professor in the university’s Department of Geography and New Jersey State Climatologist. He described Sandy as a bad example of how storms in future may only get worse.

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Board of Public Utilities Hopes to Get Into Garbage in a Big Way

Each year in New Jersey more than 8 million tons of waste – yard litter, trash from residents, and livestock manure, among other debris – is thrown away in garbage dumps, burned in incinerators, or disposed of elsewhere…If tapped, those 5.4 million tons of waste could generate more than 1,124 megawatts of electricity – a larger amount than New Jersey’s highly touted solar program now generates, or the equivalent of approximately 311 million gallons of gasoline-equivalent fuel, a study by Rutgers University has suggested…In the Rutgers study, the state was urged to target resources to develop public-private partnerships to operate power and fuel plants in two to three years, according to Dave Specca, assistant director of the Rutgers EcoComplex in Bordentown.

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Revised FEMA Maps Cheered by Shore Residents, Criticized by Environmentalists

The outcry that greeted FEMA’s preliminary flood maps officially adopted by Gov. Chris Christie in the aftermath of Sandy began almost the moment they were introduced. Many residents would have to raise their homes and businesses several feet on pilings, or else pay dramatically higher flood insurance rates in the years to come, and they didn’t like what they saw…Given the absence of this data, FEMA opted to release maps based on what it acknowledged was an overly conservative, worst-case scenario. "I think there was a rush to get out some of the information that maybe wasn’t ready for primetime," says Richard Lathrop, a professor of environmental monitoring at Rutgers University.

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Can New Jersey Insure Against the Next Sandy?

The impact of climate change goes far beyond the obvious issues of public safety and disaster planning, participants stressed during a conference held yesterday at Rutgers University. New Jersey should be considering future costs, long-term health risks, and even social justice issues when considering how to deal with a warming climate, they said. The good news is that there are some creative ideas on how to deal with the varied effects of climate change, regardless of its cause.

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