Virginia Fights Back Against Trump Administration Climate Change Rollbacks

Nov 18, 2019

Recent so-called sunny day flooding is happening more frequently around the Chesapeake Bay.
Credit Pamela D'Angelo

Rollbacks in environmental protection and flood risk management by the Trump administration is forcing states to come up with their own solutions. On Friday, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam mandated one of the country's strictest standards for state-owned properties in an effort to steer development away from flood-prone areas.

Hampton Roads boasts the world's largest naval base and one of the country's busiest ports. And, it's second to New Orleans as the most vulnerable area to sea-level rise.

Secretary of Natural Resources, Matt Strickler announced the standards during a climate change conference at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg.  "This standard is the first of its kind for any U.S. state," Strickler told the gathering.  "It will protect state buildings and the taxpayers who bankroll them from flood damage and associated costs by steering development away from flood-prone areas."

Strickler also took a shot at the Trump administration, which rolled back a federal standard to reduce the risk of flooding damage.  "The President is ignoring one of the biggest threats to our society even as Virginian's are already seeing the consequences of climate change in their lives every day. Governor Northam and I are committed to ensuring that the Commonwealth does it part to reduce carbon pollution and enhance resilience and to putting in place sound conservation and hazard mitigation policies marked by science, not by Sharpies."

The standards also will ensure that Virginia is eligible for federal flood insurance and hazard mitigation grants.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.