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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.

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