President Donald Trump responded to a New York Times report on Saturday about a proposal that the Army Corps of Engineers is studying to protect New York from future hurricanes and tsunamis, saying that it is too costly, won’t work, and will look terrible.
The plan involves constructing “man-made islands with retractable gates” that stretch six miles long “from the Rockaways in Queens to a strip of land in New Jersey south of Staten Island” and could save “property and lives.”
“Those who support a barrier miles from Manhattan’s coast — one in the outer New York Harbor, out of sight from many residents and tourists — say it would be the best solution for protecting the most people, properties and landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty, from a storm surge swelling the East and Hudson Rivers, without cutting off the city from its waterfront,” The Times reported. “The Corps’s barrier designs aim to address only storm surges. They would not counter two other climate-related threats — flooding from high tides and storm runoff — and they could trap sewage and toxins, which would threaten the nascent ecological revival of New York’s waterways.”
“The Corps estimates the wall to cost $119 billion, and it is unclear if the city, New York State, New Jersey and Congress will agree to jointly fund the project, which would take 25 years to build,” The Times added. “Even if construction went smoothly, opponents say, the barrier could be obsolete within decades because, they say, the Corps’s estimates of future sea levels are too low.”
Trump responded to the story by writing on Twitter: “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!”
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
New York City, New York State and New Jersey have to approve whatever solution the Army Corps of Engineers comes up with and would have to pay for 35% of the cost and Congress would have to agree to fund the remaining 65%.
Clifford S. Jones III, the planning chief for the Corps’s New York district told The Times that the best options were “what the agency called middle-ground options” which cost “$43 billion to $47 billion” and “propose multiple smaller barriers, across, for example, the Narrows between Staten Island and Brooklyn, and the entrances to Jamaica Bay, Newtown Creek and the Gowanus Canal.”
Last year, the Army Corps of Engineers and New York State secured $400 million in federal funds to go toward the Army Corps of Engineers’ $615 million project of building a 5.3 mile seawall to protect waterfront communities in Staten Island.
“This innovative project will protect Staten Islanders from future devastating storms, enhance access to the shore, create thriving wetlands and bring peace of mind to the diverse communities that live along the coastline,” said Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. “Today’s agreement will allow New York to move forward with this critical resiliency project, which will ensure vulnerable communities have the resources they need to build back stronger after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy and better prepare for the next 100-year storm.”