Climate Change Planning Pits Cities Against State in California

As the state modernizes its infrastructure, concerns of continued coastal erosion and future sea-level rise raise questions of where to place key infrastructure.

As the Golden State's cities look to modernize and upgrade their aging infrastructure, agencies like the California Coastal Commission are pressuring municipalities to relocate key facilities inland. "Charles Lester, executive director of the Coastal Commission, said the agency is pushing towns to move infrastructure inland where practicable, out of concerns including erosion and the effect of rising sea levels due to climate change," reports the Wall Street Journal's Jim Carlton.

But many cities, already scrapped for cash, are worried about the substantial increase in cost and time that moving the infrastructure will entail. One example is a plan to rebuild a 60-year-old sewage-treatment plant in Morro Bay, a city of 10,000 about 175 miles north of Los Angeles. Rather than approving plans to rebuild the facility at its current site behind a beach overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the California Coastal Commission, "recommended the operation be relocated a mile inland for reasons including the threat from a tsunami. Morro Bay officials say such a move would add up to seven years to the three-year project and 50% more to its estimated $60 million cost, in a community still recovering from the recession."

Full Story: A Battle Brews Over Coastal Infrastructure

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