Surging Seas

As sea levels rise and storm become more fierce, why do people keep rebuilding along the coast. Our ongoing investigation explores flood insurance, sand wars, and the struggle to adapt to climate change in coastal communities.

How federally subsidized flood insurance can artificially increase the value of...

With storms getting bigger and sea levels rising, why do people keep rebuilding along the coast? University of Massachusetts Dartmouth professor Chad McGuire and his colleagues analyzed more than 57,000 Massachusetts properties insured by the federally backed National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to answer that very question. What they found will surprise you.

Scituate house — repeatedly rebuilt with taxpayer help — gets $180,000...

The 48 Oceanside Dr. home has emerged as a symbol of controversial federal policies that financially support the rebuilding of homes on the sea’s edge with tax dollars, no matter how vulnerable they are to climate change’s rising seas and more severe storms. The grant adds to the close to $1 million the home has received for flood damage in the past four decades through insurance payouts and grants, funded in part with taxpayer dollars.

Value of oceanfront homes likely to plummet if federal sand subsidies...

In areas of North Carolina and New Jersey, where the current rate of beach erosion can be four times the historical average, property values could drop 17 percent for towns with high property values and as much as 34 percent for towns with low property values if federal sand subsidies disappear, according to new research.

State pays millions to pave way for Gloucester hotel despite beach...

On one of the grittiest stretches of the historic waterfront here, the peaks of the Beauport Hotel will soon rise above the truck noise...

Should taxpayers pay for these climate casualties?

With few offshore barriers to curb a storm’s fury, Scituate is the front line in New England’s expensive, losing battle against sea level rise....

As flood damage from storms swells, a growing, controversial call to...

Scituate is the front line in New England’s expensive, losing battle against the sea. With few offshore barriers to curb a storm’s fury, the coastal town accounts for nearly 40 percent of Massachusetts’ homes and businesses that are so flood-prone the federal government calls them “severe repetitive loss” properties. Now a growing movement is underway to level the homes that cost taxpayers the most to keep dry. The state Legislature in July set aside $20 million in a bond bill to begin a voluntary buyback for repeatedly damaged coastal homes and convert the land to recreational areas or wildlife refuges. Coastal legislators are urging new Governor Charlie Baker to tap into the fund in the wake of January’s blizzard.

Mass. law makes flood insurance more affordable yet some see risks

Homeowners in flood zones are likely to find it easier to afford rising insurance rates with a new law recently signed by Governor Deval Patrick.

Appeal filed for federal government to release addresses of vulnerable coastal...

The New England Center for Investigative Reporting earlier this year spent two months piecing together the story of a Scituate, Mass. house that collected taxpayer-financed flood claims at least nine times in the past 35 years. Its owner was in the process of applying for her second taxpayer-funded grant in a decade to elevate the $1.2 million home. But we don’t know if she got it.

Mapping tool gives climate change an address

Coastal casualties have almost become routine: Beloved Plum Island homes devoured by rising seas; Nantucket mansions picked up and moved inland; Scituate homes continually rebuilt after being hit again and again by the Atlantic.

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