Thursday, June 15, 2017

Trump calls mayor of shrinking island that gave him 87% of vote, tells him not to worry about sea level

The mayor holds a crab with oysters growing on it.
(Photo via Chesapeake Bay Foundation)
The mayor of a Chesapeake Bay island that is shrinking by 15 feet a year got a call from President Trump telling him not to worry about rising seas from climate change, reports Travis Andrews of The Washington Post.

The call to James "Ooker" Eskridge was prompted by a CNN story that reported, "The residents here are extremely scared that if something isn't done soon, their homes and livelihoods will be washed away." It included Eskridge saying, "We've depended on the Chesapeake Bay for a couple hundred years or more, and now it's the Chesapeake Bay that's the greatest threat to our existence. . . . Donald Trump, if you see this, whatever you can do, we welcome any help you can give us." He added later, "I love Trump as much as any family member I got."
The story noted that Trump got 87 percent of the island's vote. “He said we shouldn’t worry about rising sea levels,” Eskridge told the Post. “He said that ‘Your island has been there for hundreds of years, and I believe your island will be there for hundreds more.’” Eskridge said he agreed that rising sea levels aren’t a problem for Tangier, because “I’m on the water daily, and I just don’t see it.” He blames the island's shrinkage on the waves of the bay causing erosion of beaches and soil.

"The Army Corps of Engineers is scheduled to begin building a jetty on the west channel of the island some time this year to protect it from the harsh currents," Andrews reports. "But Eskridge said they need a jetty, or perhaps even a sea wall, around the entire island. He believes Trump will cut through red tape and get them that wall."

UPDATE, June 16: In a Skype interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, Eskridge said "Sea-level rise may be occurring, but it's a slow pace," while wave erosion is seen weekly. "The island is settling, sinking, but we can pump material onto the island to build the island up." He added, "I know there's changes in the climate . . . I'm just not totally convinced that it's man-made."

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