Christopher Weyent, The Hill

A Lesson from Hurricane Sandy

Tuesday, February 12, 2013
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As the new session of Congress gets underway there are many pressing issues facing our country, ranging from creating jobs to improving education. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, however, new light is being shed on one issue of particular importance for the Central Coast: preparing for the numerous impacts of climate change. Sandy’s devastation is a scary foreshadowing of what could happen with increased frequency down the road if our communities and infrastructure are not prepared for extreme weather, sea-level rise, and higher temperatures.

The urgency of this problem was highlighted by the first draft of the 2013 National Climate Assessment released in January. This report lays out, in no uncertain terms, the realities of climate change and its widespread impacts on everything from our coastlines to drinking water systems to family farms.

Lois Capps
Click to enlarge photo

Lois Capps

In a nutshell, we need to get prepared and we need to start now. That’s why it is so important that we work together – in a bipartisan manner – to address these challenges and help local communities implement comprehensive mitigation and adaptation strategies. Additionally, investing in mitigation efforts now will reduce the cost both in dollars and in lives of recovering from future storms and extreme weather.

Our nation’s coastlines are especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, where rising sea levels, greater erosion, and higher tides and storm surges could impact everything from our transit systems to our drinking water. In our own backyard, the Lower Mission Creek flood control project was designed specifically to bolster flood protection.

Indeed, many communities will face similar challenges in the years ahead and must have the flexibility to respond in a manner that works best for them. Yet, given the high up-front cost and the broad public benefit of successful mitigation efforts, the federal government has an important role to play. This is why I have introduced the Coastal State Climate Change Planning Act, which would help coastal states get ready for future impacts of climate change. Whether it’s preparing for extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy, or gradual sea level rise and erosion, it’s imperative that our infrastructure can handle it.

Of course, widespread impacts of climate change will affect people and communities in every state, not just those right on the coast. In the decades ahead, severe droughts, melting snowpack, more frequent heavy rains, and rising sea levels will create significant water quality and quantity challenges for our nation’s water and wastewater systems. The Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies and the National Association of Clean Water Agencies estimate that adapting to these challenges will require an additional $1 trillion in investment through 2050.

To address that need, I have introduced the Water Infrastructure Resiliency and Sustainability Act, which would help local water agencies upgrade their water systems. For example, utilities could use the funding to rebuild or relocate water infrastructure, develop new water supplies, increase water efficiency, or study and identify future scenarios to prepare for.

Finally, these changing weather patterns will have a significant impact on agriculture and our economy. California is the most productive agricultural region in the world, contributing $39 billion per year to the economy and supporting over one million jobs. California also ranks first nationwide in exports for “specialty crops” such as tree nuts, fruits, and vegetables, and second in dairy production. Agriculture is a billion-dollar industry in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara County alone and is a mainstay of the Central Coast economy and way of life.

But this bounty is threatened by potential climate-related impacts, including more limited water supplies, higher temperatures, changes in pollinator lifecycles, and increased prevalence of pests. These will pose tremendous challenges for our farmers on the Central Coast.

Recognizing this, California Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross established a new consortium of growers, educators, and technical experts to study and make recommendations on adaptation strategies. As Congress renews consideration of the Farm Bill this year, I will renew my efforts to ensure that it includes measures to help our farm communities prepare for these climate-related changes.

While climate change presents us with huge challenges, it also provides unique opportunities. Improving our infrastructure will create jobs and grow our economy in the short term, but it will also make our communities safer and our entire economy stronger in the long term. These challenges are very real, but not insurmountable, and we can’t afford to ignore them any longer.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Thank you so much Lois! According to you climate change will ruin the earth but save the economy, and we will all be safer in the end through "no cost to us" public spending.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
February 12, 2013 at 5:27 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Finally, let's spend our money in the US instead of folly across the Middle East. Good luck trying to get taxes off those people, hmmm, I mean corporations. Letting the guilty run free (bankers, ex presidents and cabinets) sets dangerous president, I mean precident.

spacey (anonymous profile)
February 12, 2013 at 12:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hey, as long as the federal gov. continues to borrow money from China and spend it, it's our congresswoman's job and duty to bring as much of the money into her district as possible.

I'm glad to see her be pro-active this way. It appears to have taken her a while to learn, but better late than never.

Georgy (anonymous profile)
February 13, 2013 at 4:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I agree, dem dar Red States get all the bucks and create most of the mess.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
February 13, 2013 at 5:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Kudos to Congresswoman Capps for taking a proactive position on a looming problem. Taking the steps necessary now will benefit all of us and our children in the future. We need to support these efforts.

sallyt (anonymous profile)
February 14, 2013 at 8:23 a.m. (Suggest removal)


It's "precedent". And, I feel that playing Spelling Police on this one is okay, since the joke hinges on the homophonics....

equus_posteriori (anonymous profile)
February 15, 2013 at 7:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

yea, we can have the U.S. government fund solar panels to save the planet...
While not good for the economy, I would support ACTUAL improvements to our infrastructure since Washington is going to spend our money anyway. And no KV, this is not a Red State vs Blue State issue. Obama used to publicly tell us that Bush was irresponsible for running up the debt, now Obama and Pelosi are telling us, literally, that we do not have a debt problem but instead a revenue problem...

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
February 15, 2013 at 7:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Let's cut the crap. The ice is melting in the polar regions according to all news outlets I've seen. Of course, maybe it's all part of an international media propaganda deal and additionally, perhaps Richard Nixon is a nude go-go dancer in Peoria, Illinois.

I'm not saying whether or not I agree with Capps, but the evidence of the issues she discusses appears to be overwhelming. Whether or not I support her politically, (I have never voted for her) does not mean I'm going to throw the baby out with the bathwater by disagreeing with her when she presents a logical case, as she has here.

How we deal with this issue should be the topic, rather than dismissing it.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
February 17, 2013 at 4:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Disapproval of the Keystone XL pipeline will be the ultimate test for Obama regarding serious action on climate change. Read up folks. This scam being foisted upon us in the name of jobs and energy independence is a major hoax. Read up !

geeber (anonymous profile)
February 18, 2013 at 6:27 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Who needs jobs and energy independence when we can have Solyndra instead?

Blaming hurricane Sandy on man-made greenhouse gases is about as lamebrained as it gets. Global warming does exist but we don't need to blame it every time we have a storm. There were many nasty storms 100 and 200 years ago as well.

Botany (anonymous profile)
February 18, 2013 at 8:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)


Yes there were nasty storms 200 years ago. And that falls into the "if a tree falls in the forest" category of relevance to the issue. 200 years ago virtually no one lived in the areas affected by Sandy. Big storm, no deaths, no infrastructure damaged, no damage to an economy. Today millions of people would be impacted by a storm.

Tigershark (anonymous profile)
February 18, 2013 at 11:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I agree about stopping "KeyStone XL Pipeline". I also think we need challengers in the primaries so ALL of our incumbents (not Capps specifically per se) are forced to actually represent their districts and not just give lip service and take votes for granted because : (a) it's a "liberal" area (some of us would disagree on your definition of liberal) (b) not take votes for granted because of the "voting bloc" a person belongs to.
Now that the Republicans are self-immolating and will probably be at best an obscure punchline to a stale joke in a decade or so; it's the Democratic Party's turn to either s--t or get off the pot.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
February 18, 2013 at 1:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

But say what you will about Rep. Capps, at least she doesn't publicly declare hatred for people with different ideas.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
February 18, 2013 at 11:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I too have been harrassed by the U.S. government. I got a call from Obama PERSONALLY last night telling me to support his new budget plan.

My days of harrassment from the government go back to the days of the late Teddy Roosevelt, after I did a stint with his Rough Riders during the Spanish-American war. He had me arrested three times on espionage charges where I was denied contact with my family, kept in a cell with no electricity, and was verbally insulted every four hours. (Which I actually must confess, I enjoyed)

In 1967, I was detained at Alcatraz prison for "conduct unbecoming of an up-and-rising Rock star" for a period of three months, again a victim of a false charge brought against me by future Vice-president Spiro Agnew. (Who was later assassinated by being shot severely in the foot) During this time, I saw moonstruck men walking in front of my cell taunting me, while stinking mountains of fishheads were piled up the exercise yard. It was during this time that I started to work on my autobiography "Neurosis in the psychotic realm" which became a bestseller. It was also during this time that I filed successful paternity suits against Jack Nicholson, and future governor Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown, both of which were settled out-of-court.

This period of imprisonment wasn't all bad though, as I was allowed to choose my diet and during this time I developed an affinity for Kraft dinners, and to this day I will never turn down Kraft dinner.

Others who were imprisoned during this time for "offences against the U.S. government" were, Tom Hayden, Sir Elderidge Cleaver, and four-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser Sr. ( His older brother Bobby soon joined us! (

So here is proof of government harrassment of celebrities.

When I take over the government, I will also take over the railway system and found the new capitol in Arlen, Texas, where all people will be provided with free tickets for bullet trains for the fastest transportation possible in order to see me. My Vice-President will be Rusty Shackelford and all who visit me will be treated to fillet mignon steak with Kraft dinner regardless of race, color, or poltical affiliation, with a side-order of "moonbeam" chips.

dullfin (anonymous profile)
February 22, 2013 at 7:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Further government harrassment found here:

dullfin (anonymous profile)
February 22, 2013 at 8:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Well Pelosi now has come out in favor of Social Security cuts, where does Rep. Capps stand on this?
Tell me the Dems and Repubs are different some more.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
March 14, 2013 at 6:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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