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Sea level bill passes Senate

Posted June 12, 2012

— The state Senate has passed a bill that would restrict the use of sea-level rise data in planning the futures of coastal communities.

The measure has garnered unfavorable national attention from those who say North Carolina would be outlawing scientific facts. 

Backers of the measure say that criticism is unfair. They says scientific studies are conflicted on sea level rise and that media reports have unfairly characterized the bill.

"Local governments are completely left alone in this bill," said Sen. David Rouzer, R-Johnson. He said that bill would only affect one state agency. 

Rouzer's statement conflicts with analysis of the bill by environmental advocates. It also runs counter to the plain language of the measure, which says, "no rule, ordinance, policy, or planning guideline that defines sea level or a rate of sea-level rise within a coast-area county shall be adopted except as provided by this section."

Only local governments adopt ordinances. Other sections of the bills allow cities to study sea-level rise "for non-regulatory purposes." 

A state-appointed science panel's has warned that sea levels could rise 39 inches by 2100. That could threaten 2,000 square miles of coastal land. Under the proposed legislation, state and local governments could only use predictions of a rise of 8 inches, based on historical trends. The difference in predictions could drastically change how state and local governments plan for the future. 

The measure passed 35-12. It now goes to the House, where its future is uncertain. 

2 Comments

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  • bcpii Jun 12, 10:20 p.m.

    The NC Science Panel:
    - Used the Least Reliable Tide Gauge Data.
    - Used Obsolete Reports
    - Used only One-sided Sea Level Rise reports
    - Used only One-sided Global Warming reports,
    - Admitted they did no science, only a "Literature Search".
    - No 4 miles inundation of NC Tidelands over 150 years is visible . - Said, ‘What’s the Big Deal, Let’s wait 5 Years and see what happens.’ - Has ignored questions about the above concerns. Thankfully, it looks like NC Legislators want verifiable Science upon which to base multi billion dollar public policy decisions that could harm tens of thousands of local, taxpaying property owners. This is serious business, and it’s good NC doesn’t base decisions on a comedy skit. Bill Price Pine Knoll Shores

  • jcarroll006 Jun 12, 5:36 p.m.

    Knowledge protects people in many ways. Thank you, NC Senate, for voting to suppress scientific knowledge so the 1% can sell some beachfront condos, which the future will likely prove to be on the backs of NC taxpayers. I hope all of you who voted for this bill get voted out come election time.