Who Will Pay To Protect Tech Giants From Rising Seas?
A recent interactive article in NPR highlights the threat that rising sea levels are posing to Facebook and Google's multi-billion dollar Silicon Valley campuses, which both companies are continuing to expand. These campuses are located adjacent to some of Silicon Valley's only disadvantaged communities, including East Palo Alto and Menlo Park's Belle Haven neighborhood. Like local governments across the country, these communities are grappling with the need to construct adaptation projects to protect themselves, such as levees and marsh restoration, that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars-- funds that they are unable to raise on their own. The presence of some of the world's most valuable companies in these communities raises the question: what responsibility do these companies have to help pay, and how much?
"Even in wealthier communities, pulling together funding for shoreline protection from private landowners has proven to be difficult..." says the article. "...cities are looking at raising money from private companies building in the flood zone that bear the highest risk from rising seas. How to do that is being hotly debated around the country. Most, like San Francisco and Boston, are negotiating with developers individually. But while companies may offer to pay to protect their own buildings, they may not see a need to pay for the nearby roads, power lines and pipes on which they also depend."