Environmentalists say New Jersey will better weather the next big hurricane if shore residents don’t rebuild their homes destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Leaving those areas open to become wetlands and dunes again will help protect inland properties from the storms, and save money from repeated rebuilding attempts. But advocates for the return-to-nature strategy don’t want to force shore residents out of their homes; they want those residents to choose to rebuild inland. “In many cases, it’s much more cost-effective to acquire a property, relocate the structure and never have it be damaged again than it is to just fix it up and have it damaged over and over again,” said Mark Mauriello, former head of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. But many residents do want to rebuild. “We love it down here, why would we move?” said homeowner Pete Strumolo. “We’re a couple of blocks from the beach. Been here as kids together. Nobody’s going to move.” [Newsworks]
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