NC bill to mandate short-sightedness

Remember when Fukushima happened, how clear it was in hindsight that disaster might have been prevented with a little more foresight and better planning for a worst-case scenario? That’s exactly the kind of foresight and planning that needs to be outlawed, according to a bill proposed by Republicans in North Carolina.

A state-appointed science panel has reported that a 1-meter rise in sea level is likely by 2100.

The calculation, prepared for the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission, was intended to help the state plan for rising water that could threaten 2,000 square miles. Critics say it could thwart economic development on just as large a scale.

A coastal economic development group called NC-20 attacked the report, insisting the scientific research it cited is flawed. The science panel last month confirmed its findings, recommending that they be reassessed every five years. But NC-20, named for the 20 coastal counties, appears to be winning its campaign to undermine them.

Wealthy developers in North Carolina have their eye on some prime coastal real-estate, and they don’t want a bunch of pesky, science based safety considerations getting in the way of their profits. So they just went out and bought themselves a bunch of Republican legislators, who dutifully put together a planned law that would leave science out of the planning.

They circulated a bill that authorizes only the coastal commission to calculate how fast the sea is rising. It said the calculations must be based only on historic trends – leaving out the accelerated rise that climate scientists widely expect this century if warming increases and glaciers melt.

No word on how they expect to force the ocean to abide by their restrictions. On the other hand, if the sea level does rise, the catastrophe will happen to other people, so the developers’ profits will be safe. I guess it’s all good then.


  1. Ned Champlain says

    North Carolina is rapidly falling fast in becomming the state with the dumbest elected officials.

  2. wholething says

    “Nothing is illegal if a hundred businessmen decide to do it, and that’s true anywhere in the world.” –Andrew Young

  3. omcdurham says

    I read about this yesterday, and am still trying to peel the palm from my face. I live in North Carolina, and this strikes me as more idiotic than the recent gay marriage ban. I guess if one is a republican legislator, all one has to do to squash a bad situation is to plug the ears and close the eyes, and the problem will go away. I thought that was 5 year-olds did!

  4. Kevin says

    I say, let them have their way. In 2100, when all of those nice houses are under water — well, only the fat-cat rich dudes can afford coastal homes anyway. So, they’re just screwing themselves.

    • eoraptor013 says

      Just remember that when the flood hits, federal disaster $$ — paid for with our taxes will bail them out.

      • says

        No — that emergency money is set aside specifically for terrorist attacks, not natural disasters.

        Or was it set aside specifically for helping rich people, not poor people?

    • d cwilson says

      Except the people who will profit from the sale of those homes will be long dead by 2100 and we will be unable to hold them accountable.

  5. Emptyell says

    It’s like the old Florida swampland scams except the land isn’t underwater yet. Much easier to avoid prosecution that way.

  6. Emptyell says

    There might be a creative solution though. Permit development but require detachable watertight dwelling units. In the future they become quaint floating villages (hurricanes and squalls might be a bit of a bother of course).

  7. kantalope says

    It is planned obsolescence. The water won’t rise that fast. Sell beachfront property. Beach moves inland — sell new beachfront property — rinse, repeat.

    Do need to make a law that the government won’t bail out the waterfront(and back) houses. But since those will be rich people – or banks that part will be left out of the law.

  8. The Gregarious Misanthrope says


    Except they’ll be screaming for federal disaster aid.


    History will show that physics has been 100% impervious to attempts by both politics and theology to regulate it.

  9. timberwoof says

    The bill seems to regulate only the state itself in the way it researches and publishes seal-level rise predictions. It has no teeth to regulate insurance companies’ coverage rates for floods. It seems that it could, however, cause trouble for any university professor who makes predictions contrary to the legal method. I can see two sorts of lawsuits coming out of this.

    If an insurance company makes their own predictions and refuses to sell coverage (or changes a whole lot more money for it), they could be sued by a property owner for not following the state’s regulations on sea level predictions.

    If a university professor taught a class wherein she introduced variables other than accounted for in historical rises and used second-order equations to make the predictions, she might get fired for violating the state rule. She could sue, but then the Attorney General would, of course, subpoena all her emails … 

    I should hope that if some large disaster happened as a result of this deliberate miscalculation, the federal government said, no, you can’t have federal money for this. You made a stupid decision, now live with the consequences. (Oh, but that would thwart development.)

  10. Skip White says

    “No word on how they expect to force the ocean to abide by their restrictions.”

    State-mandated prayer?

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