(NECN) - Mass. Dept. of Environmental Protection Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell says efforts to save Plum Island, Mass. homes, while on-going, may prove futile in the future because of rapidly rising sea levels.
"It took 100 years to lose 100 feet of the Plum Island shoreline, we've lost that same 100 of feet in less than 20 years, and most of it we've lost in the last five years. So with climate change, with these fierce and violent storms, with sea level rise, ultimately long term people are facing severe risk to have homes on a barrier beach," Kimmell says.
When asked about if rebuilding on Plum Island is a "futile effort", Kimmell points to other areas around the world that are also being threatened by rising sea levels, adding "And if you believe the models that the climate scientists are predicting with sea level rise, it’s gonna happen sooner than we think."
So is there a long term strategy?
"We don’t know, and no one knows what that long term means," Kimmell says. "These storms are very unpredictable, but here is what we do know: The homes that put themselves on pilings or were built on pilings to begin with, and the homes that were moved back have done much better in these three very, very fierce storms than the homes that didn’t. So we know that does work, and by the way, we think there may be a federal emergency money available to compensate homeowners for as much as 75 percent of the cost of doing that."
Watch the attached video for the complete interview.