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Sandy Recovery Task Force Pinpoints City's Soft Spots

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TWC News: Sandy Recovery Task Force Pinpoints City's Soft Spots
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Mayor Bloomberg was joined by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan Monday to unveil recommendations outlined in the federal Hurricane Sandy Recovery Task Force report. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.

With a quick mouse click, a chilling picture emerges: which streets scientists predict will be underwater in this time of rising sea levels.

"This is what the future looks like," said Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, President Barack Obama's point man on post-Hurricane Sandy recovery.

Donovan joined Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Monday in an area flooded last October to tout how the federal governments wants smarter planning after Hurricane Sandy.

It comes as an international team of scientists has reportedly found that sea levels could rise by more than three feet by the end of the century.

"What you see is an understanding that our climate is changing, and that we have to build differently," Donovan said.

Apart from the website, it's proposing that local governments share information, helping homeowners with skyrocketing flood insurance and insulating electrical grids from water surges after Hurricane Sandy turned off much of the city's power.

"The storm also knocked out sewage treatment plants across the region, but it did not knock out one on the Brooklyn-Queens border. The federal government wants to replicate plans that make that plant so resilient elsewhere.

Donovan suggested that cities follow New York's ambitious plan for post-Hurricane Sandy rebuilding.

The Bloomberg administration is trying to reshape much of the city's waterfront. Among the bigger projects are removable gates along Lower Manhattan's shorelines, storm surge barriers in Newtown Creek, the Gowanus Canal and elsewhere, and even a new neighborhood near the South Street Seaport that would absorb rising sea levels.

"I believe strongly that it should serve as a guideline and as a model," Donovan said.

"Our efforts to help those impacted by Sandy and to protect our city in the future will continue to ramp up," Bloomberg said.

However, Bloomberg's term ends at the end of the year. With planning for much of these protects only just begun, it will fall to the next mayor to see they continue, and that's to say nothing of new leaders in Washington, who will be the source of much of the money to fund them.

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