1981 coastal policy foresaw today’s woes

Newsday’s editorial is on the mark [“The surging tide,” Sept. 4], but the editorial board could have said this decades ago, when these hazards and related issues were addressed in New York’s comprehensive 1981 Coastal Management Program.

The program’s coastal policies embody “strategic retreat and selective fortification.” It codified those policies, required them to be implemented and provided the means to do so.

It took several years of input from public and private interests to develop the program in accordance with the federal Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972. This was an all-encompassing, far reaching and farsighted “grand daddy” of all coastal legislation. The need to address sea level rise was recognized in that act.

Had federal, state and municipal agencies complied with the Coastal Management Program, our most pressing problems along New York’s Atlantic Ocean, Long Island Sound and Great Lakes coastlines would have been phased out and eliminated by now.

Instead, mismanagement, misadministration and willful refusal to properly implement those policies has led to greater and inappropriate development and engineering of those shorelines. That has resulted in greater damages and risks to human life and properties.

Steven C. ReslerAlbany

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Editor’s note: The writer is a retired deputy bureau chief of the New York Coastal Management Program.