The warming Atlantic Ocean has raised the risk of another Hurricane Sandy. And still, trillions of dollars of real estate and infrastructure near the shores of New York City and northern New Jersey remain vulnerable to devastation. A storm-surge barrier similar to those in Louisiana and parts of Europe might protect the area, but politicians have questioned its $30 billion cost, effectiveness and environmental impact. A group of scientists, planners and property owners is urging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to accelerate its study of the project. It may take another hurricane to speed up the process.
The danger is increasing as the sea level rises, said Malcolm Bowman, an oceanographer at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, who is among the group. It won t take a monster storm like Sandy to devastate the region.
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Bowman warned of a catastrophic storm as far back as 2005, in a New York Times Op-Ed article. Seven years later, Sandy struck the region, flooding airports and tunnels and ravaging shore communities from Atlantic City, New Jersey, to Bridgeport, Connecticut. It caused $68.9 billion in damage, making it the second-costliest storm in U.S. history after Katrina, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Bowman s group is pushing for an evaluation of a 5-mile retractable storm-surge barrier at the mouth of New York Harbor from the Rockaways to New Jersey s Sandy Hook. That, and another smaller structure at the western edge of Long Island Sound, could protect about 800 miles of shoreline from Port Elizabeth, New Jersey, to the Bronx, Bowman says. As Bowman describes it, before a major storm, barriers would rise from the seabed or close in a gate-like structure to deflect the force of a wind-blown surge, as occurred with Sandy.
You have to allow for marine traffic and the daily flow of the tides to flush out the harbor, Bowman said, But when a storm is forecast with enough wind at high tide to create a surge, you close the gates or raise it from the seabed so water that wants to flow into the harbor can t.
Weeks after Sandy, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said his administration planned to talk with city and federal officials about the possibility of installing storm-surge barriers. Corps engineers, in discussions with New York and New Jersey since last August, are still studying what protection strategies merit further study.
At this point, it is premature to say whether broad-scale solutions such as that advocated by this group, or other more regional or localized potential solutions will fare best, said Corps spokesman Hector Mosley.
In the meantime, the state has moved ahead with a $616 million plan for Staten Island that includes a boardwalk promenade that would double as a storm-surge bulwark. The Corps has that project scheduled for completion in 2022, paid mostly by the federal government. Billions more in federal, state and city funds are being spent along shore areas, enhancing dunes and berms on beaches, cultivating wetlands, building walls and awarding subsidies for waterproofing homes and office buildings. City officials also envision a mostly-U.S. funded $816 million horseshoe-shaped elevated park wrapped along the southern half of Manhattan, dubbed The Big U, to keep out the Hudson and East Rivers. Such localized approaches may work as well or better than a mega-project, said Jainey Bavishi, Mayor Bill de Blasio s director of the Office of Recovery and Resiliency. Her concerns about a storm barrier include cost and construction time; possible environmental impact; and whether it would leave densely populated areas of Long Island and New Jersey vulnerable, and perhaps even more exposed to flooding from displaced water.
A harbor barrier is not the silver bullet, Bavishi said.
Many of these issues have been solved with barriers that protect low-lying populations around the world, said Robert Yaro, former president of New York s Regional Plan Association. Its retractable feature would allow for marine traffic and tidal flow, minimizing impact to sea life and water quality, he said. The technology holds the promise of protecting the region for catastrophic floods for the next 150 years, Yaro said.
The Dutch have used this engineering for decades and barriers currently protect New Orleans, Stamford, Providence, London and St. Petersburg, Russia, Yaro said. We in New York are far behind and among the cities on Earth we have the most to lose. Yaro and Bowman were among several advocates promoting the idea last month at an all-day conference in lower Manhattan attended by 250 municipal bond investors, real estate developers, business owners, insurance companies, and planners.
They heard Andrew Kopplin, former director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, describe how in New Orleans after Katrina, a bipartisan coalition of elected officials and business leaders persuaded Congress to approve a $14.5 billion system of levees and a storm-surge barrier. The barrier, a 1.8-mile array of gates, protected the city from Hurricane Isaac s landfall in 2012, said Kopplin, now president and chief executive officer of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, a non-profit charitable civic group.
It was simply a matter of political will, he said. Officials in the Cuomo and de Blasio administrations say they await the Corps findings.
We clearly want to see the New York Harbor barrier studied, said James Tierney, Cuomo s deputy environmental commissioner for water resources. The process requires a full-blown feasibility study. The Army Corps process is what we have to live with.
Marco Pasanella, 54, who lives above his gourmet wine shop on lower Manhattan s South Street that got flooded when Sandy hit, says the pace and scope of government response has been disappointing. He s says he s seen no measures that would protect his neighborhood if another storm hit. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted as many as 17 tropical storms, about five more than average, may hit the Atlantic coast this year.
The decisions have Balkanized the neighborhoods with a piecemeal approach, just a series of uneven, irregular blockades that will not stop the water from finding its way ashore, Pasanella said. Across Manhattan at Chelsea Piers, a recreational facility situated over the Hudson, Michael Braito, the property s chief engineer, said neighborhood protections won t be enough to stop storm-surge water coursing through his building.
These piecemeal fixes buy little more than peace of mind, Braito said. It s like a boat with 100 holes and we ve patched half of them and we re going to sink. They need to think bigger.
Gartner has predicted the global cloud-based security services market will hit $5.9 billion this year, saying the segment s growth will remain strong . The analyst firm looked at a variety of segments, with identity and access management (IAM), identity as a service (IDaaS) and user authentication remaining the biggest category. Gartner predicts this area to comprise $2.1bn, or 35.6% of the overall market, this year, going up to $3.42bn, or 38.3% of the overall $8.92bn market by 2020. Secure email gateway ($702m) and secure web gateway ($707m) were the next largest categories, with the latter expecting to outstrip the former to the tune of almost $100m by 2020. Application security testing, at almost $400m ($397.3m) this year, leads the remaining categories, ahead of security information and event management (SIEM) at $359m and remote vulnerability assessment at $250m. Other cloud-based security services amounted to $1.3bn.
The announcement, which took place during the Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit this week, also examined the landscape for businesses of different sizes. SMBs are driving growth as they become more aware of security threats, while enterprises are also on board as they realise the operational benefits derived from a cloud-based security delivery model.
Cloud-based delivery models will remain a popular choice for security practices, with deployment expanding further to controls, such as cloud-based sandboxing and WAFs (web application firewalls), said Ruggero Contu, research director at Gartner.
The ability to leverage security controls that are delivered, updated and managed through the cloud and therefore require less time-consuming and costly implementations and maintenance activities is of significant value to enterprises, Contu added.
A security black hole at Bankstown Airport has pilots and site operators concerned, with guards clocking off each night leaving the facility “defenceless”. Amid heightened fears of global terrorism, business operators and staff at one of Australia s busiest airports have become alarmed by the absence of security guards each evening after 9pm. Security at the Western Sydney airport which was acquired in 2015 by First State Super and Altis Property Partners under leasehold – effectively shuts down as guards sign out, despite planes and ground staff continuing to operate 24-hours a day.
Pilot, Keith Campbell, 80, who regularly visits the airport said concerns over the lack of guards is exacerbated by the facility’s “poor” security measures, which can be easily breached. Campbell took nine.com.au to Bankstown Airport and demonstrated just how easy it was to gain access to the airstrip and potentially an aircraft by passing through one of the site’s hangers without security clearance.
“You can walk right through the hangers anytime you want, I haven’t got a key but getting over the fence isn’t really a problem either. It’s only about 1.2m tall with no barbed wire in parts so you can just jump over it,” he told nine.com.au.
“Once you are through the hanger or over the fence you can just walk out onto the airstrip. It s pretty much defenceless. Anyone with some training could take a plane and fly into some building or do some serious damage if they wanted to.”
John – who requested his surname not be published – operates a business at the airport and confirmed the lack of security.
“There is a gate around the airport but it is not policed at all. You could easily walk through the facility and out the other side and be airside,” he said.
In 2001 an airport lobby group accused Bankstown Airport of failing to upgrade security following terrorist attacks in the US. (AAP)
Bankstown Airport Duty Operations Officer, Jim Nemeth confirmed to nine.com.au that there is no on-site security at the airport after 9pm and that pilots and ground staff are required to be vigilant of potential intruders.
“Security has a physical presence in two shifts, from 5am to 1pm and from 1pm until 9pm. After 9pm because the aerodrome is in operation 24-hours a day, pilots have numbers they can call (in an emergency),” he said. Mr Nemeth dismissed claims the airport’s security infrastructure could be easily breached while guards were off duty.
“Nothing is 100 percent and if something did happen we would act immediately. We have all these defences which include barbed wire that is compliant with the grade of security required down at the airport,” he said.
An aerial view of Bankstown Airport. (Wikipedia)
The duty operations officer added that coded gates and registered keys also helped to maintain security after hours. Campbell rejected Mr Nemeth’s claims, insisting the barbed wire was only installed on certain sections of the perimeter fence. Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester told nine.com.au that Bankstown Airport was considered low risk in terms of security due to a lack of regular commercial flights in and out of the aerodrome.
“The Office of Transport Security sets security requirements for Australian airports based on risk. Large airlines such as Qantas and Virgin don t operate flights in and out of Bankstown, he said.
Bankstown Airport is a General Aviation airport. It does not host regular passenger transport or open charter operations.”
The minister said additional security in areas such as background checks for airport workers and security screenings were also not necessary under the airport’s current operation status.
Mr Chester acknowledged nine.com.au’s unauthorised and easy access onto the Western Sydney airstrip but said it was the airport’s responsibility to maintain on-site security measures.
“Airports are responsible for implementing security arrangements on a day-to-day basis, including, but not limited to physical security measures, e.g. security patrols/guards and perimeter fencing, and ensuring that access to secure zones and areas is only undertaken by those authorised to do so e.g. access controls,” he said.
Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2017
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