Hurricane Ida cut through infrastructure, including electricity facilities, like a buzzsaw. It may also cut through complacency some have about changes in our environment and the need to strengthen our power grid.
Ida may mark a mental block we have. “Hurricane Ida will be remembered as the storm from which many, many people were not able to build back — much less build back better.” That is from Jesse M. Keenan, associate professor in the School of Architecture at Tulane University in New Orleans.
For policymakers who prefer debating on rhetoric versus real life, Ida’s message is, “Snap out of it!” The infrastructure issue is not from the President’s office, a Democrat or Republican issue. It is not owned by nonprofits who drive campaigns for operating funds based on a narrow energy point of view.
Snap out of it – the energy and climate issue is bigger than the debates you have been having.
Post-Katrina New Orleans had eight transmission lines go down. The system only had eight transmission lines. With clear weather ahead the region can rebuild, right? Wait, there is a supply chain problem. Everywhere.
It’s tough to rebuild along Ida’s path when California needs materials after wildfires.
It’s tough to rebuild along Ida’s path as Texas retrofits decades of under-investment.
Or as the northeast fixes itself up after a tropical storm a week ago.
Or as the Pacific Northwest patches its grid after record-breaking heat.
Maybe some officials are starting to get it. New York Governor Kathy Hochul said of the record floods in her state, “…there are no more cataclysmic, unforeseeable events. We haven’t experienced this before, but we should expect it the next time.” (Source)
The Charleston Post and Courier said on August 31 that Ida “provides some fresh lessons” about infrastructure issues, adding, “…we can and must reduce the risk to lives and property through better preparation.”
Keenan says that New Orleans will recover, again. “But, we can no longer afford to live in denial with the faith that we will be forever resilient. If Hurricane Ida marks the end of the age of resilience, it can also mark the beginning of a new age of our sustainable stewardship of the built and natural environments.”
Policymakers: Snap out of it and work together, not just on energy, but manufacturing, skilled labor, transportation, innovation. Step out from behind the podium. Get out of the air-conditioned conference rooms and sweat like your voters.
Let reality cut like a buzzsaw through the chambers of government.
Read more: Axios – Hurricane Ida exposes America’s precarious energy infrastructure