Editor: I joined some demonstrators at Trump’s golf course in Sterling, standing up against the policies of the Trump administration that put the most vulnerable at risk. I work with people in Virginia who are concerned about climate change and want our public leaders to take action. Inaction on climate change puts all of us at risk.
The Trump Administration just released its full budget which, as expected, includes deep cuts to the government agencies charged with protecting public health and the environment. The Trump Dirty Budget slashes funding to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Interior and other agencies jeopardizing protections for clean air, clean water, our public lands and wildlife. It should be no surprise to anyone that Trump’s dirty budget promises to rig the system for corporate polluters. Trump’s budget chief, Mick Mulvaney, called climate change funding “a waste of money” and proposes eliminating dozens of critical programs to fight climate change. Funding our government is not optional—it’s a requirement of serving in Congress. Climate change is a threat to Americans’ health, our local economy, and our community.
In April, our Senator Mark Warner met with local leaders about concerns over sea level rise throughout Hampton Roads. The U.S. military is researching how climate change creates new risks for our military bases and the men and women deployed overseas. The Department of Defense identified Virginia as “one of the nation’s most vulnerable regions to climate change”—with the largest naval base in the United States and residents in areas like Hampton Roads at threat of sea level rise. At least 10 times a year, Norfolk floods. This blocks access to the entry road, connecting roads become impassable and crossing from one side of the base to the other becomes impossible. Waters foods the dockside, shorting power hookups on the piers connected to docked ships. This can be caused by something as simple as a high tide during a full moon. Virginia is home to the fourth most service personnel in the country, with over 117,000 active duty and reserve members of the military. When we address climate change, we protect members of the military across the country who have pledged to serve us.
Flooding will only worsen as the seas rise and the planet warms. Sea level at Norfolk has risen 14.5 inches in the century since World War I, when the naval station was built. By 2100, Norfolk station will flood 280 times a year, according to one estimate by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Clean energy is creating jobs, rebuilding manufacturing, and protecting our environment at the same time. Reversing progress could put American industry behind the rest of the world. Call on our Congress to create a better budget and fully fund environmental protects.
Kelsey Crane, Fairfax