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Kaine, Rigell, Scott, Wittman Host Sea Level Rise Conference In Norfolk

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, U.S. Congressmen Scott Rigell, Bobby Scott, and Rob Wittman, as well as Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim and Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms hosted a regional conference on sea level rise at Old Dominion University in Norfolk. The forum focused on meeting the challenges Hampton Roads faces due to sea level rise and land subsidence and how to promote action at the federal, state and local level to address the region’s needs. The two panels of policy experts and regional stakeholders focused on the urgency of combating sea level rise, which is already having visible impacts on the Hampton Roads region and can no longer be treated solely as a long-term challenge.

“We’re here to learn together so that we can act together,” Kaine said. “We’re here today because of the long-term vitality of the Hampton Roads region. We can’t just sleep walk and pretend there are no challenges. This is about bringing everybody together, state, local and federal, and having a dialogue about solutions. I think we can feel good about walking away today with some good insights and good ideas.”

“As home to some of the largest military installations in the world, we must remain prepared and vigilant to deal with the risks associated with living on a coast,” said Rigell. “I am convinced that with cooperation with our state, local, private sector and military partners, we can ensure that Hampton Roads remains the best place to open or grow a command or business.  I appreciate the bipartisan attention this matter is receiving and was glad to hear from the experts present at this morning’s discussion.”

"I am committed to addressing the issue of sea level rise in Hampton Roads, and this conference provided good insight as to what my colleagues in Congress and I can do to help the region deal with its increasing effects,” Scott said. “This is just the beginning of this conversation and these efforts, and I look forward to working with those in Hampton Roads and across the Commonwealth to ensure that our communities are able to face this challenge."

“The issues discussed today are already impacting coastal localities, area federal facilities, businesses and private citizens,” Wittman said. “I'm pleased at the strong commitment from the military, academia, and officials at all levels of government to address recurrent coastal flooding, land subsidence and rising sea levels. Our nation's military readiness depends on a strong, sustainable Hampton Roads, and ensuring that our forces can effectively train and defend this nation is my top priority.”

The members of Virginia’s Congressional delegation came away from the event with a better understanding of how they can better advocate for the region’s needs at the federal level, as well as better coordinate the efforts of those seeking to find concrete solutions to sea level rise in Hampton Roads.