9 Key Findings From the Sandy Task Force

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A federal task force charged with developing a Sandy-rebuilding strategy is calling to strengthen the region's electrical grids, protect gas supply chains and fortify coastlines, according to report released Monday.

The report (PDF) by the Obama-appointed task force recommends 69 policy initiatives, most of which focus on mitigation. It was unveiled by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, today.

It also finds 650,000 homes were damaged or destroyed during Sandy. The total economic loss is estimated at $65 billion.

The report does not specifically recommend what types of infrastructure are best for protecting the shorelines, but focuses on "region-specific solutions." It does suggest including sea level rise in all future risk assessments.

A section of the report recommends federal agencies share data and create a new website for posting data during disasters.

Thousands of people will see their insurance premiums rise if they don't comply with new federal flood zone guidelines and raise their homes. The task force does not have an answer for how they can reduce insurance premiums and recommends further study. It does hope to cut red tape at federal agencies to make it easier for individuals and businesses to begin the rebuilding process.

Key recommendations:

  • Facilitate the incorporation of future risk assessment, such as sea level rise, into rebuilding efforts with the development of a sea level rise tool.
  • Create a design competition to develop innovative resilient design solutions that address the Sandy-affected region’s most pressing vulnerabilities.
  • Mitigate future impacts to the liquid fuels supply chain like those experienced during the Sandy recovery.
  • Encourage Federal and State cooperation to improve electric grid policies and standards.
  • Develop a resilient power strategy for wireless and data communications infrastructure and consumer equipment.
  • Consider green infrastructure options in all Sandy infrastructure investments.
  • Support efforts to reduce consumer confusion regarding risk and insurance coverage while working to increase hazard preparedness.
  • Improve National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policyholder awareness of factors that affect flood risk and insurance rating decisions.
  • Encourage increased hazard mitigation activities including elevation in order to protect property against future losses.