Thursday, July 7, 2016

No, Let the Tangier People Decide

The NYT has a weepy article on fate of Tangier Island: Should the United States Save Tangier Island From Oblivion?
Schulte’s study of Tangier, published online in the journal Nature last year, concluded that the island might have 50 years left and that its residents were likely to become some of the first climate-change refugees in the continental United States. Tangier was not necessarily a lost cause: Schulte outlined a rough engineering plan, costing around $30 million, that involved break­waters, pumped-in sand and new vegetation that could preserve the island. What his paper couldn’t possibly resolve, though, were the immense economic and political obstacles involved in saving an obscure place from oblivion precisely when big East Coast cities were seeking hundreds of millions of federal dollars for storm-surge protection. Indeed, as seas rise and scientists fine-tune their projections for an era of floods — large parts of Miami Beach, according to some predictions, may be uninhabitable by around 2050 — Tangier’s situation represents an early glimpse of a problem so enormously complex, so “wicked,” in the argot of social scientists, it seems to defy resolution.
No, the Federal government should not step in and "save" Tangier Island. If the people there value their homes and lifestyles, and make enough money to spend to rebuild it, they will. The government could help that by making low interest money available, and by cutting through the Federal governments own red tape.

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