The Commandant of the Marine Corps told senators on Wednesday that the cost to replace or repair dozens of Marine Corps buildings damaged by Hurricane Florence will reach upward of $3.6 billion.
Gen. Robert Neller told a joint hearing with the Senate Armed Services subcommittees on seapower and readiness and management support that although the damage to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune does not look at dramatic as civilian damages to the Florida panhandle, the slow-moving storm took a deep toll.
Camp Lejeune sits in on the North Carolina coast in Jacksonville, N.C.
Hurricane Florence dumped rain on the base for two to three days in September. Neller said many buildings at the base are 35 to 50 years old and suffered roof and exterior damage that allowed water to get inside and damage the inside and cause mold.
He said while repairing 31 of the highest priority base buildings and facilities would be one number, “if you were to take the buildings that we would consider to be not worth the cost of repair but they need to be rebuilt” then the cost is likely to reach $3.6 – $3.7 billion.
Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer, also testifying, said an NDAA-required report on the top 10 Navy and Marine Corps facilities vulnerable to climate change will be completed soon, although he did not have an exact date.
Spencer noted “not surprisingly” it will be what one might expect with the Navy: focusing on danger to oceanfront areas, water rising concerns, and “it’s going to be areas exposed to what we’ve seen now as hundred-year storms that come every 2 or 3 years. We’re going to have to start addressing this so we do this correctly and spend the money correctly.”