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Controversial Sea Level Bill Advances in Legislature

A bill that directs the state to disregard most scientific predictions of rising sea levels for coastal planning purposes is headed for the Senate floor. The bill has been ridiculed nationally by scientific groups and the comedian Stephen Colbert. Republican Senator David Rouzer is the bill's main sponsor.

David Rouzer: Now this bill mandates that the only state agency with authority to define rates of sea level rise for regulatory purposes, and I'm going to emphasize for regulatory purposes, is the coastal resources commission, and their paid staff, the division of coastal management. There is nothing in this legislation as compared to previous versions that prohibits counties or local governments from defining their own rates.

Supporters of the measure include a federation of coastal counties that wish to maintain current property value levels along the shore. A state appointed panel has warned that sea levels could rise by more than three feet by 2100.

Jessica Jones covers both the legislature in Raleigh and politics across the state. Before her current assignment, Jessica was given the responsibility to open up WUNC's first Greensboro Bureau at the Triad Stage in 2009. She's a seasoned public radio reporter who's covered everything from education to immigration, and she's a regular contributor to NPR's news programs. Jessica started her career in journalism in Egypt, where she freelanced for international print and radio outlets. After stints in Washington, D.C. with Voice of America and NPR, Jessica joined the staff of WUNC in 1999. She is a graduate of Yale University.
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