Saturday, June 20, 2009

McDonnell to Hampton Roads: Drop Dead

The Republican Party of Virginia's candidate for governor is writing off Hampton Roads. Not in the next election -- permanently.

First, a quick review of the science. Few areas of the entire country are more vulnerable to sea level rise than Hampton Roads. The map at right shows what would happen under a 12-foot sea level rise scenario, leaving much of the metro area under water.

Here's the scary part: Thanks to increasing global fossil fuel use and accelerating global warming, scientists are now saying that's possible much sooner than previously thought. The latest research shows we could be looking at six feet of sea level rise -- not in some far-off scenario, but in the lifetime of a child born today.

Now consider that Hampton Roads is already vulnerable to strong storms. Scientists say rising sea levels could double the land vulnerable to a category 1 hurricane.

So what do scientists say we need to do? Simple -- start moving away from dirty, polluting fossil fuels and onto clean, renewable energy sources like solar and wind power. Luckily for our economy, clean energy sources are more jobs-intensive than mining and drilling for fossil fuels. And fortunately for consumers, clean energy is getting cheaper by the day -- and if we develop the technology to use it more efficiently, we can save families money.

But Bob McDonnell just doesn't care. Instead of standing up for Hampton Roads and standing with science, Bob McDonnell is trying to impress his buddies in Washington -- including one of the least-popular disgraced politicians in the entire country, Newt Gingrich.

Newt's Big Oil-funded front group called for Bob to denounce the science-backed American Clean Energy and Security Act that could come before the full House for a vote as soon as Thursday. Like a good lapdog, Bob immediately came running to trash the bill that would do what scientists say is necessary to protect Hampton Roads. Instead, McDonnell announced his plan to deal with the crisis -- tax cuts:
We can reduce carbon emissions, and clean up our environment, without raising taxes on Virginia citizens and increasing unemployment. We must encourage companies to innovate by providing tax incentives for environmentally-friendly construction, energy efficient workplaces and establishment of environmentally-friendly sustainability programs. The cap and trade legislation under consideration is exactly the wrong approach to take. It is a heavy-handed big government approach based on ideology, not science.
This is the George W. Bush approach to governance. Tax cuts as a catchall prescription for any problem, blind faith in unregulated markets to solve all our problems, and putting politics ahead of science.

Virginia voters rejected four more years of the Bush approach last November. Looks like they'll get a chance to do it again this year.
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