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The Rising Tide: Coastal Virginian Lobbies Congress On Climate Change

Because of coastal flooding, a Virginian is pressing Washington for action on climate change. Photo by NOAA.
Because of coastal flooding, a Virginian is pressing Washington for action on climate change. Photo by NOAA.
September 14, 2015

RICHMOND, Va. - Folks from around the country are making the case to Congress for limits on carbon pollution to curb climate change and its impacts.

A woman from Chesapeake went to Washington, D.C. last week to talk to federal representatives about the rising sea levels on the Virginia coast. Tuere Brown has been in two coastal floods in the last two years. In 2014 she was evacuating the school where she was working.

"I had my children with me, and a few other students from the school trying to head to higher ground to meet their parents," says Brown. "The water just washed over the hood of my car and we stopped right in the middle of the street."

Republican congressional leaders are considering ways to block or delay an administration plan to limit the amount of carbon pollution from power plants. Brown went to Washington last week to argue against that.

Critics of the administration plan say the economic costs are too great. But Brown says that's a shortsighted view when climate change is already having costly impacts. She says she and her husband had long wanted to live on the coast before moving there seven years ago.

Brown says they had been looking to buy a house and put down roots but the regular flooding has changed her thinking and makes her worried for her children's future.

"It has. This summer I was in a flood again," she says. "When the sky began to get dark, I began to get very anxious. And I am very, very concerned about the sea level rise and the climate change."

Brown says we have to act now.

"It's important we take a step and make some kind of change immediately, because these effects are happening and we need to counteract it before it gets worse," she says.

Geographers say, after New Orleans, the Hampton Roads area is the U.S. urban region that's most vulnerable to climate change and rising seas.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - VA