In N’oth Cay-lahna, Saahhnce is Agin’ the Law

August 3, 2012

“There is absolutely no harm in waiting four years and looking at more science before we dive in and do something.” – NC-20 chairman Tom Thompson


RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina lawmakers have temporarily banned using a science panel’s recommendation to plan for rising sea levels, after the governor decided Thursday not to veto the measure.

The measure has been lampooned by comedians and has drawn the ire of environmentalists. It blocks the state from adopting any rate of sea level change for regulatory purposes until 2016, while authorizing more studies.

Gov. Beverly Perdue’s decision means the bill becomes law, bringing temporary closure to the debate that began when the science panel warned sea levels could rise by more than 3 feet by 2100 and threaten coastal areas. Coastal development group NC-20 rejected those findings and said the seas would rise only 8 inches.

ABC News:

According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), sea level rise along the portion of the East Coast between North Carolina and Massachusetts is accelerating at three to four times the global rate. A USGS report published in the journal Nature Climate Change in June predicted that sea level along the coast of that region, which it called a “hotspot,” would rise up to 11.4 inches higher than the global average rise by the end of the 21st century.

The historical political clout wielded by North Carolina’s developers has led some critics of the law to accuse legislators backing it to promote those who line the pockets of their campaigns.

The largest industry contributors to McElraft’s campaigns have been real estate agents and developers, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics. Her top contributor since she was elected to the General Assembly in 2007 has been the North Carolina Association of Realtors, followed by the North Carolina Home Builders’ Association.

McElraft, who is a former real estate agent and lives on Barrier Island off the coast, denied that campaign contributions ever influence her decisions as a lawmaker, and said her votes have not always favored increased development.

The Governor apparently feels that the laws of physics should be subject not only to state regulation, but local ordinances as well.
ABC reports that, in a statement, Governor Perdue maintained that the new law “allows local governments to use their own scientific studies to define rates of sea level change,”.

NC-20 chairman Tom Thompson said he was pleased with Perdue’s decision not to veto the bill.

“What is the rush to judgment?” Thompson asked. “This has huge economic consequences. … There is absolutely no harm in waiting four years and looking at more science before we dive in and do something.”


10 Responses to “In N’oth Cay-lahna, Saahhnce is Agin’ the Law”

  1. rayduray Says:


    George Monbiot at the Guardian UK has a blog item up on Sen. James Inhofe’s intemperate outburst in a Senate committee hearing Wednesday:


    “…the Senate committee’s ranking member (its most senior Republican), James Inhofe, spoke with the demagogic passion of a revivalist preacher. “The global warming movement has completely collapsed … the science of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was finally exposed … The time has come to put these tired, failed policies to rest and embrace the US energy boom so that we can put Americans back to work, turn this economy around, become totally energy independent from the Middle East, and ensure energy security for years to come.”

    I’ll say one thing for Inhofe. He’s consistent in his anti-science, anti-intellectual disingeuousness.

    See also:

  2. Peter Mizla Says:

    What is a real paradox here with NC- as is with all these other ‘Red States’ is that their geographic locations put them in the hells eye of suffering the most ill effects of climate change. Sure Boston and NYC due to their coastal locations will suffer- but they are not in denial of the issue of sea level rise. These more progressive states will make an attempt to mitigate.

    States in the south, Great plains are now seeing their future– yet they deny- and continue to vote for the same politicians who will send them to hell. Perplexing reasoning to say the least. I guess ‘American Exceptional’ wins out over science in these states.

  3. miffedmax Says:

    This may be one of those instances where the free market solution ends up working–I’d imagine a lot of insurance companies are going to say “pass” on projects on that stretch of coast.

  4. David Tyler Says:

    This may allow legislators to stick their heads in the increasingly wet sand. It does not do anything about insurance companies leaving the market. Might be hard to get a mortgage without insurance.

  5. Brian Dodge Says:

    “McElraft, who is a former real estate agent…”

    Her NC legislature website currently lists her as a “real estate broker” (among other things).

  6. andrewfez Says:

    Could it be that they want to wait a little while, so that a few politicians can sell their beach properties to suckers at a ‘fair and balanced’ price? Coastal property was pretty bubbled up compared to the US average, regarding the housing correction, and it may take several more years to recover.

    I have property on Hilton Head, SC about 9 feet above sea level. SC has a map of coastal areas it deems ‘savable’ regarding sea level rise. It deems my area is ‘savable’ because the property value is high, and they probably think folks there are gonna pony up for some expensive projects to fight the flood. They already have been accelerating the rate at which beach restoration projects (i.e. pumping sand up on the beach from the sea floor) have been occurring.

    Last May when I was there they did something never before done to our beach in the 37 years I’ve been going there: They cut down an area equivalent to several football fields worth of sand dunes, sea oats, and the rugged, bushy, brush type vegetation that grows adjacent to the beach. They took vegetation, which is protected by SC law, because its root systems discourage beach erosion, and mowed it all down, pulled it all up, and hauled it all off in large scale, earth moving machinery. Now there’s a lot more white sand beach! Is this a strategic fallback? Why would they deliberately expose the beach to faster erosion? For short term gains in beach area?

    I’m gonna give it 5 or 10 years, then cash out before the herd catches on.

  7. Bruce Miller Says:

    Dark Clouds Bring Dark Horse
    Math, Chemistry, Physics, Medicine, and Biology advances, even yet unknown to the uni-lingual “Ivory Towers” of M’erika, yet unpublished even in Mandarin by decree of the communist central planning committee there. Be advised even in the Nuclear field, China has published some advances – like Tsinghua Universities, Pebble Bed Gas reactors, facilitating many smaller reactors, reducing transmission losses significantly (you Google, You see!)
    M’erika, on the cusp of economic disaster will stretch her environment, stress the world’s Ecology, again and again for her mere survival and the survival of the very profitable “American Dream” lifestyle as the other great societies of this world strive for sustainability through Solar, Wind, Wave, Hydro, Tidal, Geothermal, Anaerobic sewage digestions, Biological means, of sustainability. Mounting humanocidal radioactive wastes, yet unmanageable, still mounting, present an undeniable “hidden deficit” for the U.S. peons, and as the Yuan backed by 1600 M Chinese workers makes gains against the U.S. Dollar backed by a mere 300 M, in bids for the worlds remaining oil, an oil dependent M’erika wobbles, threatens waves the nuclear sabre, even giving control to Israel of this horror, thus absolving themselves of the guilt for the upcoming world tribulations, and prayers are said to a very much horrified God, in South Carolina, for more! more! more! by the unrepentant fatted calves for the Asian sacrificial alters. Dark Clouds on the Horizons M’erika, and the Dark Horse soon to ride?

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