Avoiding additional costs of sewage overflow reduction

Dear Editor:

I am not looking forward to the costly upgrades to our local sewage systems described in your recent article, “Plans for sewage overflow reduction submitted”. But if the federal government continues to take no action to fight climate change, I’m afraid taxpayers and local governments will continue to be forced to shoulder the burden of alleviating the impacts of climate change.

It’s well-documented that climate change increases the frequency of flooding in coastal communities due to rising sea levels and more extreme weather events. That further overloads our sewage systems, which, as discussed in your article, are already overloaded due to the increased population in the area. So, yes, the improvements discussed are certainly necessary. But if climate change continues, these types of improvements will become enormously—and perhaps prohibitively—costly. We’ll need to build sea walls, install flood pumps, elevate structures, and more.

So, while I appreciate our local governments taking action to reduce sewage overflows, the federal government must take action to fight climate change. Congressman Sires has cosponsored a bill that would be a huge help—the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, which would reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent within twelve years. I call on him and Senators Booker and Menendez to pass that bill so our local communities do not have to keep paying to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Nicholas Robinson