Rhode Islanders voice climate change concerns at sea level rise meeting
By Jordan Mazza
CRANSTON, R.I. (WLNE) -- Sea levels are rising, and so too are concerns among Rhode Islanders.
"The scope and the size of the problems – people often look at it and say, 'What are we going to do?'" said Grover Fugate, the executive director of Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council.
That's why the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council tonight presented solutions to keep residents' home values – and literally their homes — afloat.
Experts say even simple investments like a $500 roof fix can save your home from the worst water damage.
"If you build to a future condition, and you build higher and stronger, that should be reflected in the market price," Fugate said.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse also spoke at the meeting and says it's good people are finally accepting climate change.
But the flip side is that new research shows coastal home values are already starting to slip.
"I think that's a real cause for concern and for regulators to take action," Whitehouse said.
But how they take action is the concern for attendees who staged a protest in favor of the green new deal, an ambitious plan to cut emissions and add jobs.
They confronted senator Whitehouse for his decision not to cosponsor the resolution introduced in the senate by Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts.
"Literally a solution is on the table right now to address this problem," said Lauren Maunus of Providence, representing protestors from an organization called the Sunrise Movement. "What better way to really use moral protest and ask him a really clear question of, 'Will you cosponsor this resolution to protect Rhode Island communities from sea level rise?'"
But Whitehouse says right now the plan is too divisive.
"The Green New Deal is an idea, and it's an inspiration, and it's a motivation. And all those things are great. I'm kind of down in the trenches building the bill. And I have a lot of people I'm working with who aren't supporters of the Green New Deal. And I want to make sure that we all stay together."
The Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council says it plans to hold more meetings on climate change preparation.
© WLNE/ABC 6 2019