Featured Image Credit: Wall Street Journal
Since Charleston’s founding in 1670, our city’s rich culture, thriving economy, and beautiful scenery have drawn millions of visitors from every corner of the world to our coast for generations. Still, today in 2018, Charleston is a vacation destination and enjoys unprecedented levels of growth, as any resident is well aware.
With growth though comes growing pains, and there are many issues Charleston faces that we should address. One direct threat to the Holy City in both the short and long-term is sea level rise. Throughout the previous two decades in South Carolina, tidal flooding has increased by 300 percent, with the sea level rising 10 inches on our coast since 1950. If that doesn’t worry you, this should: the rate of sea level rise has tripled in the last 10 years alone, with the water rising an inch every two to three years.
At this point, it is obvious to all of us the risk sea level rise poses to our city. With flooding comes more difficult commutes, damage to our roads and bridges, and destruction of our world-class beaches. Ultimately, this negatively impacts the Charleston economy by hampering tourism and increasing costs and living expenses on Charlestonians through higher taxes to pay for emergency management and infrastructure repairs.
What is being done to combat this growing problem? Fortunately, at the national level, there is growing awareness in Congress from both Democrats and Republicans that the issue of rising sea levels must be addressed. For example, Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo (FL-26) and Democrat Rep. Seth Moulton (MA-06) are working together to build bipartisan support for their new legislation, The Flood Protection Act.
In Charleston, our city and her citizens have taken the danger of sea level rise to heart. Since the 1980s, Charleston has implemented an effective flood mitigation system that drains floodwater into local rivers.
While the flood mitigation plan is a good first step, the problem of sea level rise is only going to get worse without further action. We must all encourage leaders like Sen. Tim Scott, Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg, North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey, and State Senator Chip Campsen to make the issue of sea level rise a top priority, both at the national, state, and local levels. We need them to work together to find solutions that will keep Charleston a thriving and growing city for generations to come.