A coalition of advocates, academics and government officials are throwing their weight behind a regional strategy to address future sea level rise.
They argue that, for the plan to work, state regulators spearheading the effort need new authority to implement it — a policy idea that many stakeholders agree is necessary, but that would require the equivalent of a political Hail Mary pass.
At the moment, preparing for rising seas is mostly a free-for-all. Counties, cities and developers are coming up with plans separately and not all to the same level of protection, which has created a patchwork of inconsistent zoning and differing interpretations of state law.
For the regional plan to succeed, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) needs to treat front-line communities as climate experts, said Julio Garcia, a BCDC environmental justice adviser and director of the nonprofit Rise South City, which focuses on climate issues in South San Francisco.
Will Travis, former executive director of BCDC, suggested the state create a different agency to enforce sea level rise adaptation across California.
“For there to be any kind of a regional strategy for dealing with sea level rise, you can't just expect that local government by local government will do the right thing,” he said.
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