Thursday, September 13, 2018

It's Not Wise To Ignore Mother Nature

When science predicts bad stuff, ban science. Yeah, that's the plan. Or at least that was the plan back in 2012 for the NC General Assembly and for the whole problem of the sea.

What set the General Assembly off in 2012 was a report two years earlier by a panel of scientists gathered together by the state Coastal Resources Commission. Those guys, from several different state universities, used computer modeling based on increased warming due to carbon dioxide and melting ice caps -- and its cumulative effects -- those scientists  issued a dire warning in March 2010, estimating that the sea levels along the state’s coast would rise 39 inches over the next century.

Jeez Louise. Real estate developers and their allies didn't like the sound of that. I mean, just the sound of that science caused The Vapors, caused new foundations to melt. And hadn't real estate interests taken enough grief in the under-water tsunami of the Great Recession? Enough of doom and gloom! There were new profits to be made, and so special interests got busy, leaned on the all too willing new Republican majority in the General Assembly, and got a law in 2012 that literally barred policymakers and developers from using up-to-date climate science to regulate coastal development.

Pat McElrath
That put a stop to effing science. And development of coastal lowlands roared ahead, unrestrained by any predictions of disaster. Coastal population has increased by almost half in the last 20 years.

The Republican who wrote that 2012 law, NC House member Pat McElraft (Emerald Isle), is still in the House, representing District 13. McElraft's top campaign contributors in 2012 were the North Carolina Association of Realtors and the North Carolina Home Builders’ Association.

McElrath's up for reelection in 2018 with no Democratic opponent. The man who filed to run withdrew, and district Democrats didn't recruit another candidate. An unaffiliated candidate, Penelope Ann diMaio, is on the ballot and supported by the Carteret County Democrats. "Pene" diMaio has a website and presumably some sort of a campaign going. But signs are not encouraging that she's fighting for it. First line in her statement about environmental issues: "I believe in science." Curiously, she doesn't even mention her opponent's role in outlawing science.

All that science-banning fiasco in 2012 got the hilarious attention of Stephen Colbert. Ain't no laughing matter this week.

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