Since the House spurned a Senate proposal to put strict controls on the science of predicting how fast the seas will rise along North Carolina's coast, legislators have been working on a compromise. They are preparing next week to consider a gentler but more complicated approach toward the same goal: slow down that scary forecast.
The state Coastal Resources Commission would be required to wait four years, until July 2016, before it authorizes any sea-level forecast to be used as the basis for coastal regulations, according to legislation worked out this week by a House-Senate conference committee. Scientists would be required to consider a sweeping range of views, including predictions that the sea level will fall, as they develop North Carolina's forecast.
It was the Coastal Resources Commission that asked a panel of scientists for a prediction that caused alarm among coastal economic development interests. In 2010, the panel urged North Carolina to prepared for a 39-inch rise in the sea level by 2100. (See CRC information page on sea-level rise.) Senate leaders and a coastal group called NC-20 favor a more conservative forecast -- 8 inches -- which is a straight-line projection of the slow rise that has been charted over the past half century. ... [MORE]