Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 12.45.55 PM

Should Taxpayers Pay for These Climate Casualties?

With few offshore barriers to curb a storm’s fury, Scituate is the front line in New England’s expensive, losing battle against the sea. The coastal town accounts for nearly 40 percent of Massachusetts’ homes and businesses that are so flood-prone the federal government calls them “severe repetitive loss” properties. Now a growing movement is underway to level the homes that cost taxpayers the most to keep dry. Watch the video above to find out more about how taxpayers could be on the line for these climate casualties. Continue Reading

Lauren Owens-NECIR-Scituate-12

As flood damage from storms swells, a growing, controversial call to buy out homeowners

Scituate is the front line in New England’s expensive, losing battle against the sea. With few offshore barriers to curb a storm’s fury, the coastal town accounts for nearly 40 percent of Massachusetts’ homes and businesses that are so flood-prone the federal government calls them “severe repetitive loss” properties. Now a growing movement is underway to level the homes that cost taxpayers the most to keep dry. The state Legislature in July set aside $20 million in a bond bill to begin a voluntary buyback for repeatedly damaged coastal homes and convert the land to recreational areas or wildlife refuges. Coastal legislators are urging new Governor Charlie Baker to tap into the fund in the wake of January’s blizzard. Continue Reading

A 3.4 acre constructed wetland is thriving near the Alewife MBTA station. Most wetland construction efforts, however, fail, and the state is now evaluating new ways to save soggy places that filter pollution, host hundreds of species and control floodwaters.

Failed projects and weak oversight lead to loss of state’s wetlands

Three decades ago, Massachusetts became a darling of the environmental movement for requiring developers to replace virtually every square foot of wetlands they destroyed to build houses, parking lots and shopping malls. The policy was designed to slow the destruction of one of nature’s most underappreciated resources: Swamps, marshes, seasonal ponds and other soggy places. Today, the state’s landscape is pocked with hundreds of examples of that policy’s failure. Continue Reading

Saco, Maine, April 20, 2007 -- A home that succumbed to storm surge following the Patriots' Day Nor'easter. (FEMA/Marty Bahamonde- Wikimedia Commons)

Appeal filed for federal government to release addresses of vulnerable coastal homes

The New England Center for Investigative Reporting earlier this year spent two months piecing together the story of a Scituate, Mass. house that collected taxpayer-financed flood claims at least nine times in the past 35 years. Its owner was in the process of applying for her second taxpayer-funded grant in a decade to elevate the $1.2 million home. But we don’t know if she got it. Continue Reading