In 2011, the North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission submitted a report forecasting sea level rise along the coast for the next three decades. The new Republican majority dismissed what they saw as an overly pessimistic and unrealistic forecast and rejected the report — telling the panel it needed to come back with a more realistic one by 2015. At the time, Democrat Bev Perdue occupied the governor’s office.
Here in 2015, we have a Republican in the governor’s mansion and a GOP majority in the general assembly. Yet, the sea level rise panel over at the Coastal Resources Commission is still pushing the same spin that got rejected in 2010. The CRC is now being run by a McCrory campaign contributor named Frank Gorham. But we’re not hearing a peep of protest out of Jones Street. Is it less important to fight global warming propaganda when its being pushed by Republican appointees?
Why is this sea level rise report important to you and me? If these people succeed in getting approval for their finding of dramatic sea rise over the next 30 years, draconian planning and zoning changes and insurance rates can be among the results. Living along the coast — and doing business along the coast — can get a lot more restrictive and expensive, really quick.
An oceanographer conducting peer review on the SLR panel’s work, has voiced his frustrations over the enviromentalists’ heavy-handedness:
[…] Bob Dean and I expedited our review and are providing it (enclosed) over two weeks in advance of the 7 March deadline to give the Panel as much time as possible to change its report. The Panel certainly did not adequately address our comments, and, in fact, almost completely ignored them. Rather than making any attempt to justify some of its key assumptions and address our comments, the Panel merely responded that the assumptions were clearly stated. Assumptions should be clearly justified, not merely clearly stated. Comments should be addressed, not ignored. As it currently stands, there was no need for Professor Dean and me to review the report, since our comments were almost completely ignored. We are quite disappointed by the Panel’s inadequate response to our comments.
> Sea level rise is an important issue to North Carolina, and the State deserves a high quality report. High quality reports adequately justify their assumptions. If the Panel cannot justify assumptions or adequately address our criticisms of them, it should discard approaches based on them. The Panel can easily and rapidly do so and provide a report by the 31 March deadline that is understandable and defensible. We are willing to provide an additional review of the report if the Panel seriously considers our comments and makes substantive changes to the report.
> James R. Houston, PhD
> Director Emeritus
> Engineer Research and Development Center Corps of Engineers
John Droz, a North Carolina-based scientist and a leading critic of the environmental movement, took it up a notch in an email to Gorham, the McCrory appointee running the Coastal Resources Commission:
Since our last communique (1/22/15), there has been a major development. Let’s review the most recent situation:
1 – The CRC Advisory Panel submitted their proposed NC SLR Report (12/31/14)
2 – Our group of local experts sent in eight pages of comments and corrections
3 – The peer review oceanographers (Dr. Dean and Dr. Houston) submitted their own Critique (which also was 8 pages — of additional material)
4 – This week, the Panel responded with a 1.5 page justification (rather than make corrections to their report).
[Note: their comments were exclusive directed to Dr. Dean and Dr. Houston, ignoring our eight pages of thoughtful commentary.]
5 – Today Dr. Dean and Dr. Houston answered that, by basically resigning from their assignment — politely but strenuously objecting to the intransigence and unscientificness of the CRC Panel (see below).
This unfortunate development was 100% predicted, and 100% avoidable.
The original 2010 NC SLR Report was an unscientific assessment of the NC SLR matter — so much so that the state legislators passed a law forbidding state agencies to use it!
Instead of accepting responsibility for their poor effort, Panel members attacked anyone who had the audacity to question their work.
But the state legislators gave the CRC a chance to fix this — by asking for a new NC SLR Report to be done in 2015.
However, for some unfathomable reason, the same guilty and unrepentant authors were assigned to produce a do-over!
I (and others) objected to this arrangement from day one. Your response was that Houston and Dean would provide adequate oversight, which would assure that the Panel produces a Scientific report.
Our answer was that proper peer review is about tweaking details — i.e. making a very good report even better. We knew from the beginning that the methodology of this report was fundamentally flawed, and that a LOT more than tweaking would be required (e.g. the 16 pages of corrections).
So, we politely ask you yet again:
1 – Please fill the vacancies on this Panel with independent, competent people. [Note: if any current members resign, then accept the fact that they have no interest in working with others who may view things differently — which is part of the process of producing a scientific report.]
2 – Give the Panel the following instruction:
“Do a Genuine Scientific Assessment of the NC SLR situation over the next thirty years. That means doing a comprehensive, objective, transparent and empirical investigation into the NC SLR issue.”
john droz, jr,
So, the two guys assigned to provide adult supervision to this sea level panel have basically thrown up their hands.
Some adult supervision is required here. If Pat McCrory can’t get his appointees under control, someone in the legislature needs to do it for him. This crowd at the CRC is ignoring the General Assembly’s 2011 directive about revising their report. Stop worrying about protecting McCrory, and remember your obligation to the people who voted you into office.