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Brooklyn pol tapped to head new climate committee says city must focus on all waterfronts

A Brooklyn lawmaker who was recently tapped to chair a City Council committee preparing New York for the devastating effects of climate change vowed that his panel will not be focused solely on Manhattan.

Councilmember Justin Brannan, the chairperson of the new Committee on Resiliency and Waterfronts, said he would be holding hearings on climate change in all five boroughs.

“These days you hear a lot about Lower Manhattan but not much about Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. Meanwhile, seven years after the worst natural disaster in the city’s history, many on Staten Island are still recovering and rebuilding,”  said Brannan, a Democrat who represents Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and parts of Bensonhurst. “We are a city of waterfronts – and of the five boroughs, four of them are islands.”

Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast on Oct. 29, 2012, causing billions of dollars in damage in New York City and elsewhere. Lower Manhattan suffered a great deal of damage and destruction, but so did places like DUMBO, Red Hook and Coney Island in Brooklyn, Breezy Point in Queens and several parts of Staten Island.

In Brannan’s district, parts of the Shore Parkway seawall in Bensonhurst were damaged and then rebuilt.

Right off the bat, the new committee will have a busy agenda, according to Brannan, who intends to hold oversight hearings on the administration’s current climate resiliency efforts across the five boroughs.

“This committee will be about investigating what the city has – and has not – done to protect New Yorkers for when the next Sandy-like storm strikes our shores,” he said.

Brannan was tapped by Council Speaker Corey Johnson to head the new committee, an outgrowth of the Committee on Recovery and Resiliency that was formed in 2014 to look into post-Sandy rebuilding efforts.

Melissa Mark-Viverito, the council speaker at the time, created the committee five years ago at the request of two Brooklyn council members, Mark Treyger and Carlos Menchaca, and then tapped Treyger to serve as chairperson.

Treyger, a Democrat, represents Coney Island, Gravesend and parts of Bensonhurst. Menchaca’s council district covers Red Hook and Sunset Park.

Treyger and Menchaca began lobbying Mark-Viverito to establish a committee immediately after they both won election to the City Council in November of 2013. The committee was formed in early 2014.

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