In 2012, North Carolina's Coastal Resources Commission studied the question of sea-level rise and the likelihood that coastal areas would be inundated by severe weather, concluding that the seas were likely to rise by 39" over the century; the Republican legislature, backed by property developers building in low-lying coastal regions, passed a bill prohibiting any such research and decreeing that the seas would rise at the same rate that they had through history, without regard to any science about accelerating rates fueled by climate change.
Today, the regions that were greenlit for development by the move are square in the path of Hurricane Florence and stand to be some of the hardest-hit in the nation, thanks to sea-level rises that outstripped the legally decreed limits on what the ocean was allowed to do.
“The science panel used one model, the most extreme in the world,” Pat McElraft, the sponsor of the 2012 bill, said at the time, according to Reuters. “They need to use some science that we can all trust when we start making laws in North Carolina that affect property values on the coast.”
The legislation was passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature and allowed to become law by the then governor Bev Perdue, a Democrat who neither signed nor vetoed the bill.
The law required the coastal resources commission to put out another study in 2015, looking at expected sea level rise.
North Carolina didn't like science on sea levels … so passed a law against it [Erin Durkin/The Guardian]