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You are here News Environment While the seas rise in the Outer Banks and elsewhere in NC, science treads water

While the seas rise in the Outer Banks and elsewhere in NC, science treads water

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sea level risingThere’s not much dispute these days, up and down the coast, about whether the ocean is rising. The question is: How high will it go here, and how fast?

North Carolinians must wait until 2016 for an official answer. That’s the law.

After promoters of coastal development attacked a science panel’s prediction that the sea would rise 39 inches higher in North Carolina by the end of this century, the General Assembly passed a law in 2012 to put a four-year moratorium on any state rules, plans or policies based on expected changes in the sea level. The law sets guidelines under which the Coastal Resources Commission, a development policy board for the 20 coastal counties, will formulate a new sea-level prediction to serve as the official basis for state planners and regulators.

The backlash fomented by a conservative coastal group called NC-20 prompted commission members in 2011, most of them Democratic appointees, to reject the 39-inch prediction from the panel of engineers and geologists, including Riggs, that has counseled the commission since the 1990s. A new documentary film, “ Shored Up,” shows anguished commission members imploring their science advisers to somehow “soften” the high-water warning.

Now the 13-member Coastal Resources Commission has a new chairman and eight more new members appointed last year by Republican legislative leaders and Gov. Pat McCrory. The 2012 law says the commission must receive a new draft sea-level prediction from its science panel by March 2015, but the new commission has not asked the science panel to start work.

TVNL Comment:  Stupid is as Stupid does.


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