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Rob YoungWestern Carolina University geologist and coastal expert Rob Young is featured in a pair of new public radio stories at NPR and WNYC that highlight some problems with the Hurricane Sandy relief bill passed by the House in recent days.

Young’s main criticism: Spending billions to rebuild damaged beach communities just like they were before the storm is extremely shortsighted and wasteful. He isn’t saying the communities don’t deserve assistance or that they shouldn’t be rebuilt, but he does say that merely trucking in vast quantities of sand to put things back just like they were is absurd.

Young also argues convincingly Read More

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Western Carolina University Geology Professor Rob Young posted an excellent essay last week about federal Hurricane Sandy relief legislation and its inclusion of controversial provisions to rebuild the coast “as it was” prior to the storm.

“It may be that we, as a nation, decide that it is worth spending billions of dollars to rebuild this nation’s beaches, but the decision should not be taken quickly, or lightly. Such rebuilding projects will only provide temporary relief from rising sea levels and storms — we will need to spend the money again. And there should be full consideration of the science behind the design of each project and the environmental impacts, which the current bill ignores. Read More

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RALEIGH – Bowing to new and overwhelming evidence from the scientific community and the powerful impacts of recent catastrophic weather events, North Carolina conservative political leaders announced today that they are willing to accept the reality of sea-level rise, while at the same time proposing a plan to deal with it.

“It does appear  that some coastal tidal patterns have started to shift slightly,” said State Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger. “And regardless of whether this is the result of direct intervention by the Almighty or, as I believe, over-regulation of offshore drilling which has prevented ocean floors from subsiding to their appropriate levels, it does appear it’s time to act.”

Berger went on to say that he and colleague House Speaker Thom Tillis will introduce legislation during the 2013 session of the General Assembly to be entitled the “Personal Water-Level Mitigation Choice and Responsibility Act.” Under the multi-faceted proposal, individual taxpayers would, among other things, be able to establish tax-free savings accounts in which they would be able to shelter income for future use in dealing with coastal storms and rising seas. Read More

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The Fayetteville Observer ran an interesting letter yesterday on its op-ed page.  It’s from a New Yorker named Jim Finlay who witnessed the fury of Hurricane Sandy up close and who wants to tell North Carolinians and their state legislature to think again about their nonsensical denial of science when it comes to rising ocean levels.

“You and I have much in common, even if we are separated by hundreds of miles. And this past month one of those points of congruence was highlighted dramatically: We both reside in states where the occasional hurricane is the norm.

I live along the coastline on Long Island in New York State. A few months back, I read about North Carolina’s attempt to legislate what was, and what was not, allowed in the process of planning for sea-level rise along its coast. You, of course, are well aware of the damage caused by Sandy nearly three weeks ago, but I thought I would share with you some of the things we Long Islanders are currently living through….”

Read the entire letter by clicking here.

 

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(Satire alert: Please note that, as believable as the following story may be, it is not to the author’s knowledge, true — at least at this point anyway). 

In a follow up to its bold action last spring to ban scientists from predicting a significant sea-level rise along the North Carolina coast over the the course of the 21st Century, House and Senate leaders in the North Carolina General Assembly announced early this morning that they would take further action in the coming days to ban weather “forecasts” and news “reports” related to coastal weather events. 

Speaking at a hastily arranged press event in the offices of NC20, the pro-development group that spearheaded the anti-sea level rise bill, House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger both described the move as “the next logical step” in their ongoing plan to forestall the “scare tactics” of “climate and weather alarmists” who are causing North Carolinians “unnecessary worry” regarding the future of coastal communities and investments therein.

According to Tillis (pictured above), the news media coverage devoted in recent days to Hurricane Sandy (a moniker that the Speaker refused to use) was the spur to this recent action. Read More