When it comes to coastal resilience, late is not better than never! | Mint

It’s one of the most hackneyed maxims in the English language: better late than never! But yesterday the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a report concluding that waters off the coast of Massachusetts could rise between 2 and 7 feet in the lifetime of our children, which means catastrophic flooding of our coastal communities several times a year.

It makes me think that when it comes to reforming Massachusetts’ outdated regulations that make it harder to increase the resilience of our coastline than in any other New England state, late isn’t better than never.

Massachusetts regulations, based on the now seemingly romantic notion that it’s best to let nature take its course, categorically prohibit what are defined as “coastal engineering structures” in places where they are most urgently needed.

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s definition of prohibited “coastal engineering structures” includes, “but is not limited to, any breakwater, bulkhead, groin, pier, revetment, levee, weir, riprap or any other structure designed to modify wave, tidal or sediment transport processes to protect inland or mountain structures from the effects of these processes. »

A zealous Massachusetts DEP hearing officer interpreted that definition too broad in any case to even ban “engineered structures” like sand-filled burlap wraps anchored by wooden pilings. I probably don’t need to tell you what DEP thinks about more resilient safeguards.

I’m with the executive director of the Boston Green Ribbon Commission. This NOAA report, coming as it does in an election year, gives us urgent prompting to ask ourselves whether we are moving fast enough and comprehensive enough to meet the monumental challenge presented by our GHG-charged climate. For me, the answer is most definitely no. What about gubernatorial candidates Healey, Chang-Diaz, Diehl and Doughty?

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