Business, government and community leaders held a press conference this afternoon at the Elizabeth Marina to highlight the local damage caused by Hurricane Sandy and call for increased action to mitigate and plan for the impact of the next storm of that magnitude.
The event was held in response to President Barack Obama's national climate change initiative, which he presented in June. The plan calls for investment in clean and efficient energy and places limits on carbon emissions from power plants.
Joe DeNicholas, vice president of operations and logistics for locally based Atalanta Corp., said Sandy caused the company to "lose over $20 million in property damage, inventory and business interruption," and in the weeks following the storm, its sales revenue across the country declined by 90 percent.
DeNicholas said more preparation is needed to combat the effects of the next big storm.
"While we now have invaluable experience dealing with an extreme weather event, it's certainly not something any of us ever want to go through again," DeNicholas said in the release. "We need more planning at all levels of government to alleviate the impact of future events."
Sandy caused significant flooding along the city's waterfront, destroying areas of boardwalk on its pier. Out of 51,000 PSE&G accounts in the city, 49,000 lost power during the storm, and thousands remained without it for nearly 10 days, according to the release.
"With Hurricane Sandy, the city of Elizabeth witnessed the destruction that can result from a storm of this magnitude," Mayor Chris Bollwage said in the release. "In addition to the loss of power for more than a week, the storm surge had a tremendous negative impact on our waterfront. Using the knowledge and experience we have now to prepare for future events will greatly assist communities as they incorporate safeguarding efforts."