Big day for me and the NYW team yesterday as our project got its final approval from the City of New York. It is because of the New York Wheel project that I decided to form the NRF. Because the Wheel will be partially located in a flood zone, we studied how we might make the site more climate resilient.
The results from our study with the design professionals were that we 1) raised the entire site to 12 feet (which is two feet higher than the new FEMA flood zone recommendations that occurred after Super Storm Sandy), 2) made sure that the ground level of our terminal building and parking structure could withstand storm surges and 3) relocated most of our mechanical areas to a specially constructed mechanical tower that will be located out of the flood zone and high enough to withstand sea level rise in the future.
We would like to open up a discussion about how the NRF would operate assuming it convinces Legislators to enact a climate resilience investment tax credit (CRITC).
I have always envisioned the NRF as an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) rather than a part of the government. Even though the CRITC funding comes from taxpayer investment tax credits, it seems to me very efficient to have an Advisory Board that does not include political participants. The Advisory Board, as I envision it, would have a dozen experts in various fields, which would include public policy makers, climatologists, business people, legal experts, ecologists, engineers. To have the NRF be part of the Government worries me that it might become very politicized like the EPA, which has had its hands tied on a number of occasions (especially the exclusion of certain parties from the Clean Water Act) which compromises its objectivity in areas that should be out of the political realm.
I do realize that since the NRF would be funded with taxpayer dollars, there should be a Government oversight committee, which would probably be at the Federal level.
The next blog post will discuss how we see the actual CRITC working. I would like any input from the public.
Please get the word out about this NRF blog so we can have a viable discussion about the pros and cons about how the NRF will be administered.
Thank you for your interest.
Eric Kaufman and the NRF Team