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Local Shore Town Continues To Rebuild Post-Sandy As Obama Speaks On Climate Change

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By Syma Chowdhry

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Protecting the environment was the focus as President Obama addressed climate change Tuesday.

“Today I’m announcing a new national climate action plan, and I’m here to enlist your generation’s help,” said President Obama.

The plan tackles several ways to fight climate change, including post-Sandy issues.

$370 million will be set aside for coastal protection, wetlands and ways to build a better flood defense.

“A lot of the wetlands act as natural filters and sinks for when storm events do happen,” said Michael Flynn, an Environmental Specialist at Stockton College.

Flynn is thrilled the president is addressing this issue.

“[He’s] getting the information out there. That seems to be one of the more helpful things, just getting the public more aware,” Flynn said.

Obama also plans to use $1.3 billion to make transit systems in New York and New Jersey stronger in the event of another major storm.

“The president is probably following our lead today,” said Leonard C. Desideri, mayor of Sea Isle City.

President Obama’s speech comes after Sea Isle City unveils its new Gateway after being flooded during Sandy.

“We’ve had about six months of construction here, six months of detours,” Desideri explained.

Officials had improvement plans in place since 2009, but the project was badly needed after Sandy hit.

“What we experienced from Sandy is that we can help a little bit longer getting people in and out of town,” said Dale Foster, Cape May County Engineer.

The city used $3.8 million federal dollars to raise the street by 16 inches and improve the drainage system.

“It gives us more time for evacuation purposes and also for restoring; coming back in for the first response,” Foster said.

Officials also added more traffics signals and pedestrian walkways to the gateway.

The next phase for the city is to rebuild the municipal building.

“It will be built according to the new flood maps and it will be able to withstand any high waters that would come in this area,” Desideri explained.

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