To the editor:

It seems that there is widespread agreement that an effective battling of climate change and sea level rise must include an all-encompassing range of solutions. In Salem however, judging by this past year’s rhetoric and the lead up to the recent election, even our community’s most vocal “environmentalists” do not seem interested in discussing or even offering an opposing argument on the question of whether building housing on floodplains is a good idea at all. One can easily see areas in Salem that are in danger of being inundated, on the new maps published by the Wood’s Hole Group, a verifiable expert and science-based consulting organization. FEMA’s new guidelines states that “Development in floodplains and flood prone areas should be discouraged through adoption and enforcement of codes and zoning regulations that meet or exceed the latest published editions of the International Codes and related standards.”

If the question of developing on floodplains is not openly discussed in addressing the complex problem of climate change and rising sea levels, then I and literally thousands of residents are left to assume that addressing the issue is secondary to the economic development agenda – and in this case seems in direct conflict with genuine climate change solutions. We will see where our elected officials go with these climate/development/resiliency/housing/preservation issues in the next two years. Everyone will need to show their cards at some point.

Michael Kraft


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