Monday, September 27, 2021



Over $2.7 billion in new and accelerated funding pledged to support report’s recommendations

 Mayor Bill de Blasio today released “The New Normal: Combatting Storm-Related Extreme Weather in New York City,” a landmark report that provides New York City with a new blueprint to prepare for and respond to extreme weather. The report was delivered to the mayor by the Extreme Weather Response Task Force, a top-level convening of senior leaders across City agencies, along with outside experts on climate change and resiliency, directed to compile a new set of protocols and policies to protect New Yorkers from future storms like Hurricane Ida.
A copy of the report can be found here.
The mayor announced plans to support the report’s recommendations with $2.1 billion in new funding at the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP); $238 million in accelerated funding for crucial DEP projects; $400 million in new funding for other priority capital projects among key agencies including the Parks Department; Department of Transportation; NYCHA; and the School Construction Authority; and $25 million in expense funding for Fiscal Year 2022.
“Extreme weather is more common than ever, and more severe than ever. Business as usual is over. Keeping New Yorkers safe means profoundly changing the way we prepare for – and react to – this new normal,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This new report charts a path forward for investing in vulnerable neighborhoods, shoring up our infrastructure, warning communities ahead of major weather events, and better tracking storms before they arrive. I’m proud to share it with New Yorkers, and I look forward to forging a safer and more resilient city.”
The mayor announced the creation of New York City’s first “Rainboots on the Ground” program – the city’s first-ever program to distribute educational information on evacuation procedures to basement apartment residents and vulnerable neighborhoods. Starting in 2022, the City will contract with 60 community-based organizations to canvass these neighborhoods and highlight the threats posed by storm water and extreme weather.
The mayor also announced the creation of a new Extreme Weather Coordinator position in City Hall. The position will work closely with New York City Emergency Management (NYCEM) and other agencies to lead and organize extreme weather response. This Emergency Weather Coordinator will be appointed by the Mayor. Starting immediately, Deputy Mayor for Administration Emma Wolfe will be the first to serve in this role.
“New Yorkers have seen the effects of extreme weather on their communities, and they know it’s happening more frequently than ever before. With this blueprint, their City will be as tough, prepared, and resilient as they are,” said Deputy Mayor for Administration Emma Wolfe. “Thanks to targeted investments and better storm tracking, New York City will be more prepared than ever to keep the city safe from extreme weather.”
“The New Normal” outlines detailed new strategies to:
  1. Educate, train, and acclimate New Yorkers to this new reality
  2. Increase planning for the worst-case scenario in every instance
  3. Accelerate upgrades to storm modeling, tracking, and alert systems
  4. Broaden protection for inland communities, not only our coastlines
  5. Protect basement and cellar occupants
  6. Prioritize investments in low-income neighborhoods, immigrant communities, and communities of color
  7. Re-imagine our sewage and drainage system, and rapidly increase green infrastructure and cloudburst solutions
  8. Call on support from the state and federal government in further depending our reach
“Climate adaptation is an essential part of climate action,” said Jainey Bavishi, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Climate Resiliency. “The new actions and investments we are announcing today will accelerate our efforts to prepare for extreme rain, including capturing rainfall with innovative ‘cloudburst’ projects, advancing green infrastructure and wetlands restoration, protecting residents and businesses, and further strengthening our understanding of future climate risks. We know more climate disasters are inevitable—and we’re stepping up to protect New Yorkers from more dangerous and more severe extreme weather.”
“Hurricane Ida brought record setting amounts of rain never before seen in our city. I want express our condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives during the storm. For so many who experienced damage and losses to their homes and businesses, we know that recovery is not easy, and we at DEP commit our continued support. Much of our infrastructure was designed and constructed decades ago, for what is clearly a different climate reality. As extreme weather events become more frequent due to climate change, we need to continue making improvements to the City’s drainage infrastructure. As we continue to expand and update our infrastructure, we must supplement those efforts by expanding our nation-leading green infrastructure program, refining our maintenance schedules and mandating private properties capture their share of stormwater. DEP stands ready to take all necessary actions to protect our city from the dangers of climate change,” said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Vincent Sapienza.
“Extreme weather is the new normal, and New York City is determined to meet the challenge head-on. The strategies outlined in the report provide a blueprint for City agencies to immediately implement measures to mitigate the impacts of severe weather, as well as provide training and resources to help keep residents safe throughout the five boroughs,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner John Scrivani. “Together we can work to ensure that all New Yorkers are ready for the next storm.”
These actions build on the City’s current extreme weather response protocols. In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Ida, New York City began an unprecedented cleanup and recovery effort. Actions taken included:
  • 486,399 phone calls, and another 200,000 text messages, from City phone bankers to connect New Yorkers in hardest-hit communities to government resources
  • 29,536 doors knocked by City canvassers
  • 842 New Yorkers housed in hotels
  • 257,764 free meals distributed
  • 18,600 tons of debris picked up by the Sanitation department
  • 71,600 trash bags picked up by the City Cleanup Corps
"As co-authors of the framework, the Natural Areas Conservancy is thrilled that Mayor de Blasio and his administration have endorsed the Wetlands Management Framework for New York City in their latest efforts to improve the city's resilience to climate change. Understanding and investing in our natural areas should be an important part of our response to the climate crisis, and this is a crucial step in the right direction. By adopting the Wetlands Management Framework, the city is showing its commitment to properly investing in New York City’s hydrological infrastructure — infrastructure that will play an outsized role as our city continues to experience flooding and extreme weather events as a result of climate change,” said Sarah Charlop-Powers, Executive Director, Natural Areas Conservancy.
“What the City has said today is that there is no more business as usual. Atmospheric changes are accelerating, meaning all systems that make urban life possible must change too, and without delay. This holistic, multi-agency, multi-disciplinary strategy if funded and implemented, will prepare New York City for the future weather extremes it is certain to face. The most encouraging parts of this plan are commitments to multiple ways of warning people about life threatening flooding, the use of existing places like parks and green space and to hold storm water during bursts of heavy unrelenting rain, assisting individuals with the tools and financing to retrofit building and homes, and the City’s commitments to work beyond its boundaries with New York State and federal programs.  Waterfront Alliance and the Rise to Resilience coalition are prepared to actively pursue legislative and regulatory changes to put these critical reforms in motion. Furthermore we applaud how this plan is clearly based in the reality of the price tag of a full-scale City-wide storm sewer system retrofit.  It provides feasible, creative and innovative ways to meet extreme weather head-on while billions are invested over time,” said Cortney Koenig Worrall, President and CEO, Waterfront Alliance.
“This extraordinary report thoroughly reviews the timeline and impact of Hurricane Ida, an unprecedented and unpredictable disaster for New York. But it also lays out a detailed blueprint for how, in the age of dangerous climate change, we must develop prevention and mitigation strategies that will save lives and protect vital infrastructure,” said Dr. Irwin Redlener, Founding Director, National Center for Disaster Preparedness (NCDP).
“As we see climate change across the United States, I applaud the administration for addressing this ever-growing issue. Climate change is here and we can already see the effects as it threatens our vulnerable communities and coastlines. From wild fires to freezing rain, snow squalls to blizzards, and flash floods to coastal storms, it is key we tackle climate change aggressively. The extreme weather task force is just one step towards ensuring the safety of New Yorkers, as we move forward to combat climate change,” said Richard Serino, Former Deputy FEMA Administrator.

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