Strange governmental actions are pouring out of North Carolina, with one a reminder of King Canute, an English monarch of the 8th century who famously commanded the waves to stop. Despite his immense royal power, the waves did not obey. www.inspirationalstories.com/0/91.html.
The majority of the North Carolina Legislature, that is run by dominant Republicans, issued a Canute-like legislative command. North Carolina planning authorities must ignore rising sea level advice of the science advisory panel of North Carolina's Coastal Resources Commission. http://planetark.org/wen/65831.
Based on 7 studies, including a 2012 US Geological Survey report that found caused sea rise from North Carolina to Massachusetts will be 3 to 4 times the global average, the scientists to the Coastal Resources Commission said the Tar Heel state must prepare for 39 inches of sea level rise by 2100, as a result of climate change. But most conservatives insist that climate change is not real and that the globe's scientists are engaged in a massive global conspiracy to hoax the world.
Hence, the Legislature's response is to say "not so fast" to the waves and insist that a much lower sea level rise be assumed. The majority of the North Carolina legislature thinks it is good policy and law to ignore the best science and ordering the waves to obey.
On the other side of the climate change ledger, the Legislature last week also overode a veto by Democratic Governor Perdue of a bill authorizing hydraulic fracturing and shale gas development in North Carolina. While stating that she believed shale gas can be developed safely, the Governor, nonetheless, said the bill did not contain adequate environmental safeguards.
Pointing to numerous provisions in the bill that commanded protection of the environment, including one that required further Legislative action before fracking permits be issued by the state agency with that responsibility, the Republican leadership was able to override the veto by one vote. To add to the strangeness, that one vote was mistakenly cast by a new Democratic House member who mixed up the voting buttons, and the Republican leadership would not let her correct her vote.
Now that the shale gas bill is law in North Carolina implementing fully all the environmental protections in it is vital. North Carolina must also insure that the regulatory agency charged with oversight has the staff and political ability to enforce strongly environmental protections.
While the gas resource in North Carolina is smallish, still speculative to a degree, and may never be produced, developing natural gas supplies is essential, if America is going to reduce further its energy-related carbon emissions that in 2011 fell to 1996 levels. Stopping natural gas development is a sure recipe for using more coal and oil and reversing the recent sharp decline in America's carbon emissions, as well as raising today's low natural gas prices that are so important to consumers and our economy.
In North Carolina, the Republican controlled legislature, that won't honestly face sea level rise from climate change, overturns a veto from a Democratic Governor, who accepts climate science, but vetoes gas development needed to slow carbon emissions. These North Carolina facts are stranger than fiction.