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Letters: Losing battle to save barrier beaches

Bellport's Ho-Hum Beach on Fire Island in 2013.

Bellport's Ho-Hum Beach on Fire Island in 2013. Credit: Brittany Wait

After the hurricane of 1938, the barrier island at Westhampton Beach was overwashed. In photographs of the 1938 Long Island Express, as the storm was known, Dune Road appears to be nearly destroyed, with few houses left standing. This storm serves as a perfect illustration of the predictions outlined in “LI hurricane like Matthew would be ‘devastating’” [News, Oct. 8].

When the storm hit, the barrier islands were well nourished by sand that had been transported from Montauk Point. That is no longer the case, as a result of the relatively recent efforts to reduce erosion at Montauk Point to protect the lighthouse.

This tampering with nature has resulted in starvation of the east-to-west littoral drift that replenished the barrier islands. This, of course, is the concern of “$1.16B shoreline plan questioned” [News, Oct. 3], which discussed the proposed replenishment of sand by the Army Corps of Engineers. The plan would require the placement of 120,000 cubic yards of sand along the barrier islands every four years.

The Army Corps is fighting a losing battle.

George M. Bartunek, Calverton

Editor’s note: The writer has a master’s degree in geology.


“New era for big storms” [News, Oct. 11] made it clear that we need to take action now to stabilize the climate.

While the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change was a step forward, it didn’t achieve the reduction in emissions recommended by the Union of Concerned Scientists and UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. By 2050, these organizations say, emissions must be at least 80 percent lower than in 1990.

We need to take out an insurance policy against these storms and all else climate change will bring. I’m talking about a plan endorsed by George Shultz, the economist who was secretary of state for Ronald Reagan.

Here’s how the insurance would work: We put a steadily increasing fee on the use of carbon, and return all the revenues to households in the form of a monthly dividend.

This would cause several good things to happen: Greenhouse gas emissions would go down enough to fend off climate change, we would create jobs and the economy would improve. This insurance policy is called carbon fee and dividend.

William “Coty” Keller, Freeport

Editor’s note: The writer is a member of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, an advocacy group.


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