Eyewitness News

Protecting our coast

Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Bill Ritters daily take on the news.

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.

520 miles of coastline. Not exactly what you think of when you imagine New York City. But that's exactly what we have.

Think of the distance between San Diego and San Francisco (502 miles) or New York to Raleigh, North Carolina (489) and you'd fall short of the miles of coastline in America's largest city.

Again, not what you think of when you mention New York City. How to protect it from the next big storm? Oh, and by the way, it really doesn't matter whether you still have the debate over drinks about global warming or climate change (and I say that with all due respect). Just about every expert worth her or his college degree believes that climate change is real, and we'll continue to see more extreme weather.

So with that in mind, New York Mayor Bloomberg today unveiled a most ambitious and bold proposal to help protect the 520 miles of New York City coastline, including removable barriers in Lower Manhattan, as well as levees and bulkheads in other places. Who pays for it? Will it really work? (Remember that old TV ad, "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature?"). We'll have the latest tonight, after Game Three of the NBA Finals.

Also tonight, the ACLU and the NYCLU filing suit today against the Obama Administration for the "dragnet" surveillance of potentially every phone call and electronic communication in the country. The suit says the surveillance is illegal. Fascinating blowback now starting after the disclosure by former National Security Agency contractor Ed Snowden that this surveillance is widespread. Are we beginning to see the re-visiting of the validity of the Patriot Act, proposed during the Bush years? We'll see, although recent polls show most Americans think spying on citizens is okay if it's to prevent terrorist attacks.

And if we need another reminder to keep a "heads up" when you're walking in or near New York City's public parks  we got one today. A woman on Central Park West and 86th Street was the victim this afternoon of a falling tree branch. The FDNY says she's in serious condition at the hospital.

There's been much criticism about the City doing a better job of maintaining the 2.5 million trees in New York. Drenched ground usually helps weaken some of these trees. We'll have the latest.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports, including highlights from tonight's NBA Finals game. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight, after the game.

BILL RITTER

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