LONG BEACH TOWNSHIP, N.J. —
In his evening briefing Wednesday, Gov. Chris Christie reiterated that he wants to rebuild.
"I don't believe in a state like ours, where the Jersey Shore is such a part of life, that you just pick up and walk away," he said.
But the governor said homeowners in hard-hit areas should decide for themselves whether they want to rebuild or sell their property to the state for conservation. New Jersey has a program to buy flood-prone homes, but it's mostly been used for inland flood plains, not the shore.
The government, the Republican governor said, should not decide where rebuilding is and isn't allowed. On Thursday, state Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Hajna said he expects building standards to be updated, as they have been after other major storms.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, disagreed with Christie, saying that rebuilding after Sandy should include new ways to prevent damage from future hurricanes and storms.
Shoreline advocates say there are three ways to protect the shore from extreme weather: build more jetties and seawalls, keep beaches replenished and relocate homes and businesses.
The physical solutions can help protect homes and roads but also cut off access to the beaches or water. New Jersey is known for having a lot of protective barriers.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it's also moved more than 65 million cubic yards of sand for replenishment projects in New Jersey. The state government has done additional projects without federal assistance.
Environmentalists say moving sand can cause harm to the areas it's moved from and might not be a good match for its new location. The supply of usable sand also is limited, they say.
"It's like a bad drug habit," said Chad Nelsen, the environmental director of the Surfrider Foundation, a national organization dedicated to preserving beaches and oceans. "Once you start, you can't stop."