A recent article in the Bay Journal detailed Norfolk’s struggle to build a protective floodwall within their timeline and budget. This floodwall is an adaptation in response to rising sea levels, which are a direct result of climate change.

Sea level rise is Virginia’s greatest threat now and in the coming years. It affects the entire coastline, and disproportionately affects the already marginalized and vulnerable communities that have been forced into low-lying areas. Adaptation and mitigation measures are possible, but they are very expensive.

Most importantly, the biggest oil and gas companies knew that their dirty energy was causing climate change, but they plowed forward with deceptive campaigns in the name of profit margins and shareholders. They should be held accountable for their actions, and should pay for Virginia’s mitigation measures over taxpayers.

According to the Center for Climate Integrity, 84% of Virginia voters agree that oil and gas companies should foot the bill for climate change adaptations such as floodwalls. It’s unfair for Virginians to pay a disproportionate amount for a problem they didn’t cause.

Climate change and its effects are going to harm Virginia and other coastal communities the most. We must put up a fight for justice, and make polluters pay for the damage they’ve done. Mitigation and adaptation are feasible, but taxpayers should not be held responsible for the bill.

Lauren Landis

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