Sunday, July 8, 2012

Revised North Carolina sea-level bill calls for a blend of science

Kirk Ross in the Coastal Review Online:  When a re-written Coastal Management Policies Act and its controversial sea-level rise section was finally debated in the N.C. House Tuesday, there was little doubt that the issue still causes a rapid rise in temperatures.

The final measure, which passed the House 68-43 on the last day of the legislative session, drops the mandate in previous versions that required using only historical data and a linear model to develop a state standard for anticipated future sea-level rise because of global warming. Instead, the bill puts a four-year moratorium on developing a new model for sea-level rise and lays out in detail what the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission must take into account to set a standard.

The bill requires, for instance, that the state set rates in at least four separate regions of the coast and develop both oceanfront and estuary estimates. The vote culminated a month-long debate in the N.C. General Assembly over a draft policy that was first presented to the commission by its scientific advisers in 2010.

...Rep. Pat McElraft, R-Carteret, who brokered the compromise with the Senate bill’s backers, said she and her staff paid a price. “I’ve had nasty phone calls from all over the United States,” she told her colleagues. “It may seem silly to some of you people, but it’s not silly to those of us on the coast.”...

NASA photo of Cape Fear

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