Rep. James Albis, D-East Haven, took one look at that map we published a month ago that showed his district would pretty much wind up underwater if a category 2 hurricane hit and decided it was time to take  action.

And in true legislative fashion, step one is a task force. Speaker Chris Donovan is announcing today the formation of a bipartisan shoreline preservation task force to be chaired by Albis.

Tropical Storm Irene decimated Albis’s district and as his constituents have worked through the recovery process, he said it’s become apparent that many issues need to be reviewed.

“I think there will be two aspects of the task force,” he said. “Looking at short-term fixes.” Like insurance guidelines, he suggested.

“And certainly there is that need for a long-term plan,” he added. “We know that the sea levels are rising. We can’t just let that kind of damage happen over and over again.

“If a category 2 hurricane hit East Haven, we can’t pretend there’s no chance of that happening.”

No one’s been appointed to the task force yet, though Albis noted he expects Sen. Len Fasano, R-North Haven, whom he’s been working with and whose East Haven property was badly damaged in the storm, to be involved. He’s reaching out to legislators as well as non-legislators such as land use lawyers, climatologists, environmental experts and regular homeowners.

He hopes to have some short-term recommendations before the end of the upcoming session.

“The number one goal,” Albis said, “Is making sure people are safe.”

Jan Ellen is CT Mirror's regular freelance Environment and Energy Reporter. As a freelance reporter, her stories have also appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Yale Climate Connections, and elsewhere. She is a former editor at The Hartford Courant, where she handled national politics including coverage of the controversial 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. She was an editor at the Gazette in Colorado Springs and spent more than 20 years as a TV and radio producer at CBS News and CNN in New York and in the Boston broadcast market. In 2013 she was the recipient of a Knight Journalism Fellowship at MIT on energy and climate. She graduated from the University of Michigan and attended Boston University’s graduate film program.

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