Luria fights for Coastal Virginia priorities in testimony on climate crisis

Elaine LuriaCongresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02) has submitted testimony to the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis regarding the effects of climate change in Coastal Virginia.

Her testimony provided guidance to members of the Committee as they prepare critical policy recommendations to address climate change.

“In Coastal Virginia, climate change is not a problem for tomorrow; it is one we face every day,” Congresswoman Luria said. “In addition to threatening our environment and infrastructure, the effects of climate change undermine national security. As Committee members consider policy recommendations, I hope that they will prioritize national security, clean energy, and resilient communities.”

First citing the Department of Defense’s 2019 Report on the Effects of a Changing Climate, Congresswoman Luria stressed the national security implications of climate change. The report found that “the greater Hampton Roads area is one of the most vulnerable to flooding military installations in the United States,” and that most of the highest-priority military installations in the U.S. are at risk of recurrent flooding, drought, or wildfires as a result of climate change. Congresswoman Luria also pointed to the ways climate change may foster heightened global geopolitical instability. To address these concerns, Congresswoman Luria urged that DOD be required to consider climate change at all stages of military planning and decision-making.

Next, Congresswoman Luria highlighted how the U.S. can become the world leader in the 21st century clean energy economy. She noted how Coastal Virginia is uniquely positioned to thrive in this economy given that the waters off the coast of Virginia Beach could host the nation’s largest offshore wind project by 2026. In order to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions within the U.S. to zero by 2050, Congresswoman Luria stressed the importance of clear and consistent market-based rules and robust investments in carbon-free energy technologies. Additionally, Congresswoman Luria emphasized that nuclear energy must remain a key part of the solution to cutting emissions.

The final part of Congresswoman Luria’s testimony centered on creating resilient communities that can withstand the test of climate change. Congresswoman Luria praised the substantial investments Coastal Virginia communities have made in resiliency but argued that state and local governments cannot bear the immense costs of sea level rise alone. She cited a study commissioned by the City of Virginia Beach that found the city could spend $3.8 billion in anti-flooding infrastructure, and encouraged the Committee to support increasing investments in pre-disaster mitigation funding and other resiliency projects. In addition, Congresswoman Luria asked the Committee to consider ways to improve communication among federal agencies regarding climate change.

Authorized by House Resolution 6 on January 9, 2019, the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis is scheduled to publish a list of policy recommendations by March 31, 2020. Last summer, the Congresswoman hosted Committee Chair Kathy Castor (FL-14) on a tour of areas in Hampton Roads impacted by recurrent flooding and sea level rise, including the Port of Virginia, Commander Navy Region Mid-Atlantic HQ, Norfolk Naval Station, Myrtle Park, and the Fernwood Farms neighborhood.

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