Need to Know, April 27, 2012: Sea-level rise, death on the border

This week's host, Scott Simon. Photo: Will O’Leary

This week on Need to Know: how the city of Norfolk, Virginia is grappling with massive flooding caused by sea-level rise.

An interview about whether the Federal government actually encourages people to build in flood-prone areas.

Plus, an update to last week’s investigation into the death of an illegal immigrant a short time after he had been beaten and tased by U.S. border agents – an event captured on videotape.

What’s on this week:

Update: Rising tide

The city of Norfolk, Virginia is grappling with massive flooding caused by sea-level rise.

Interview: Dr. Jay Gulledge

An interview about whether federal government policies encourage building in flood prone areas.

Update: Crossing the line

An update to last week’s investigation into the death of an illegal immigrant a short time after he had been beaten and tased by U.S. border agents – an event captured on videotape.

Watch more full episodes of Need to Know.

 

Comments

  • Ellen

    Perhaps the people of Virgina will learn their lesson here.  Republicans preach there is no such thing as climate change yet the people of Virginia insist on voting for Republicans.  The mayor says that no one was thinking about flooding 7 or 8 years ago and that is a lie.  Citizens Action (the single largest environmental lobby in Washington DC) has been walking door to door preaching climate change since  1967 but the people of Virginia continue to want to believe they are Republicans and continue to vote Republican and look where it has gotten them.  Eric Cantor is a Nazi Jew from Virginia and he wants to herd all you stupid middle-class Republicans from Virginia into the Koch Brothers concentration camps to fry you.  Good luck with that Virginia!!!  You have no one to blame but yourselves.

  • Harvey Versteeg

    Flood insurance:  I used to think this was already the law, bur perhaps not.  It should read that any time an insured property incurs over 50% loss, the payout would be a buy-out, not a repair bill.  Acquire the property and empty the lot. 
    That would work on coastal areas or barrier islands but perhaps not in interior river valleys, where it might lead to vast areas of farmland being emptied of people.  There a payout should include the requirement of raising the structures above the likely flood elevations that are already shown in flood maps.  If not, the insurance is cancelled. 
    In cities, the whole city is cancelled if it allows flood vulnerable construction permits.  Many years ago, I dealt with this as the code officer of a small riverfront city in Maine.

    Harvey Versteeg, Augusta, Maine,

  • andy bizon

     

    Rather than debating
    the cause of global warming, effort should be directed to slowing or even
    reversing it.For example,sea water could be pumped into the arid us west (as
    well as other parts of the planet) where it could be distilled into fresh water
    by solar energy.This water could be used to grow corn for example.That would
    remove carbon dioxide from the air and add oxygen.The corn could be turned into
    alcohol to fuel cars.This plan would 1)reduce the rising sea level 2)provide
    much needed fresh water 3)add many jobs to offset the explosive population
    growth 4)reduce or eliminate the import of foreign oil.

  • Michael Ashley

     ”Rising tide” was superb, congratulations to the team who made it.

    Over the next decades there will be plenty of opportunities to make similar programs about coastal cities and towns all over the US. It is sad the people don’t realize that every dollar we spend now on tackling the causes of climate change (i.e., by cutting CO2 emissions), with save many more dollars in adapting to sea level rise in the future.

  • JB in Texas

    Using public funds to allow a poorly conceived development decision to continue is foolish, at beat.  Emergencies  are unforeseeable, and emergency funds should be reserved for them.  Norfolk is seeing what will eventually become an issue in all costal communities.
    The entire Federal Flood Insurance program has been a terrible example of how to guide and protect development  of sensitive areas.  There should be no tax supported  safety net for poor development decisions…and NEVER  in repeat cases.  Many floodplains, fragile slope, wetlands, etc. are now developed, but never should have been.
    Its a sad state that we see daily where common sense gets pushed aside so someone can make more money.