Report: Sea level rise could cost Virginians billions

13News Now Mike Gooding has the story

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WVEC) -- Sea level rise could get very costly.

According to a new study from the College of William and Mary Law School's Virginia Coastal Policy Center. we all could pay a price.

If, as predicted, the sea level were to rise 0.75 meters by the year 2060, the economic impact would be enormous. Researchers predict the loss in household income in the region would be $2.2 billion, or, $3,370 per home."

The report is called "Costs of Doing Nothing: Economic Consequences of Not Adapting to Sea Level Rise in the Hampton Roads Region."

"It's definitely an attention-grabber" said William and Mary law professor and  Virginia Coastal Policy Center Director Elizabeth Andrews. "I think the takeaway, all of us, should be, sea level can have a significant impact."

There's also the issue of Naval Station Norfolk, the world's largest, already prone to flooding, making it difficult if not impossible for 60,000 vehicles to enter and exit the base daily when there's a storm.

"I think absolutely it's a national security issue from that perspective, and I think the Navy is very aware of that," said Andrews. "They've been doing a lot of talking about that, that they can fortify the base, but if you can't get the people into the base, that's a really big issue."

Andrews hopes the report opens some eyes.

"This is an important  piece of information for all citizens to know what the risks are, how bad it could be," she said. "And also to help local governments as they're responding to make sure that doesn't happen."


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