RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) –
The world’s largest naval station is based in Virginia, and now experts are saying that critical operation is facing threats from a rising sea level.
The Joint Subcommittee to Study Recurrent Flooding held its final meeting in the state capitol this week.
Members will push for the panel to continue its work as it says there are many pressing concerns about Naval Station Norfolk to consider.
Navy Captain Pat Rios says the base in Norfolk expects a 2-foot sea level rise by 2050. He says the military is not wasting any time in preparing for that possibility, and reducing energy consumption.
“We live and operate around water, and so our operations are absolutely critical in Norfolk,” said Cpt. Rios.
Rios told the panel the two most vulnerable regions to sea level rise are in Louisiana and the Hampton Roads area. He attributes climate change and carbon emissions to the problem.
Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe and Republican lawmakers on this panel agree on finding ways to insulate Virginia.
“Hampton Roads is certainly a strategic national asset, and so we have to make sure that we protect the strategic assets, as well as our homes, and businesses, and lives,” said 83rd Delegate Chris Stolle (R).
Stolle, whose district includes Virginia Beach and is the panel’s chair, says he wants to see the General Assembly extend the life-span of this group.
They are putting together a report for next month in hopes of seeing legislation passed to combat flooding.
“I think it’s going to be really important that we identify those projects that are important to us here in Virginia. That we’re first on the list when money does become available to take in and fund some of those projects,” Stolle said.
The panel chairman said he thinks the federal government should be giving Virginia funds to deal with coastal flooding. He also believes buildings and zoning rules should get more attention.