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This is What Vindication Looks Like

Regular readers know that we’ve been writing about this for many months, so it’s gratifying when the main stream media comes around to share critical elements of that point of view.

We were the source to the original WNYC December story that began their investigative work too – my only complaint is that the investigation thus far has been too narrow in scope and only examined the performance of NJ Transit, as opposed to the DEP, as I’ve been ranting about.

Let’s hope some intrepid reporter out there follows the blood in the water to the NJ DEP source!

So, here’s the  Star Ledger Sunday May 26, 2013 editorial below, printed in full, without their permission, of course!

Christie won’t admit failure on Hurricane Sandy plan

By Star-Ledger Editorial Board
on May 26, 2013 at 5:59 AM

Gov. Chris Christie looked like the picture of preparedness in his embroidered fleece pullover, as Hurricane Sandy barreled toward our shore. “We have to be prepared for the worst here,” he told us sternly on TV.

But his tone was markedly different last week when confronted with a damning investigative report by The Record of North Jersey and WNYC radio that found New Jersey was, in fact, woefully unprepared for Sandy compared with New York.

Should our state have done more to adapt for the impact of climate change before the hurricane hit?

No, Christie said: “ ’Cause I don’t think there’s been any proof thus far that Sandy was caused by climate change.”

Hours later, an Oklahoma town got torn to smithereens by a massive tornado. Christie is technically correct that we can’t say with certainty that any single weather event is a direct effect of climate change. But that’s an incredibly weak excuse not to prepare better.

Extreme weather is getting worse and more frequent, and we’ve seen the consequences of not facing scientific reality. Look at the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy: New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority suffered great damage, but saw only 19 of its 8,000 rail cars flooded. NJ Transit, on the other hand, had more than a quarter of its fleet engulfed in low-lying yards, which cost more than $120 million in damage.

Why such a difference? Because, as this investigative report lays out, New York’s MTA took climate change seriously, and adapted its procedures based on worsening weather trends. NJ Transit did not.

MTA had a climate change study that warned of higher storm surges, and a detailed hurricane plan that spanned five thick binders. NJ Transit’s plan, which did not account for climate change, resembled a 3½-page book report — in which someone blacked out every single word before releasing it to the public.

When a WNYC reporter asked the governor for his reaction to this, he attacked the messenger. “Liberal public radio always has an agenda,” he snapped.

That was Christie’s only response to an exhaustive review of documents and dozens of interviews, which revealed NJ Transit officials showed up only sporadically to meetings on climate change planning, and didn’t prepare enough for extreme weather. They based their decision not to relocate trains to higher ground on past experience, gambling against a 10 to 20 percent chance of a storm surge.

But that misses the whole point of planning based on climate change. Extreme weather does not mimic the past. It gets measurably worse. NJ Transit didn’t understand the risk, and we saw how well that turned out: with millions of dollars in damage to hundreds of train cars and locomotives.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said part of Sandy’s lesson was “the recognition that climate change is a reality, extreme weather is a reality, it is a reality that we are vulnerable.”

Too bad our governor prefers to take shelter with the deniers and blame it all on bad luck. Christie’s sounded reasonable on climate change in the past. But as we get closer to the 2016 presidential race, brace yourself for more nonsense like this.

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