MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – As some people in the Carolinas recover from flood damage almost four years later, we’re asking Democratic candidates for President how they would handle areas most vulnerable to potential effects of climate change.
It can be a hurricane or a sunny day, but parts of South Carolina flood in different ways.
“If we don’t get our act together, you’re going to be looking at more hurricanes, with more severity, more rising sea levels, which would be a disaster for this part of South Carolina and much of the country,” said Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, in an interview before his Myrtle Beach rally Wednesday.
Sen. Sanders said he’d move our energy system entirely to renewable sources, while encouraging construction away from the coast.
“If people think that they’re going to build a new home along the coast, where you’ve had hurricane after hurricane, and think that they’re going to get all the insurance they want, I think that’s probably not the case,” Sen. Sanders said.
Before his Conway rally Thursday, former Vice President Joe Biden said he understands the issues coastal communities face.
“My state’s just like yours,” said VP Biden, who’s from Delaware. “My state is, on average, the whole state, only three feet above sea level.”
Biden says he’d invest in more resilient infrastructure, as well as expand the availability of electric vehicles and public charging stations.
“We’ve already passed the threshold where we can’t build back to what it was, he said. “You got to build to what it is and that requires elevating highways. There’s a whole range of things we can do, including mileage standards, including making sure we have no more offshore drilling.”
After his Myrtle Beach event Wednesday night, businessman Tom Steyer said combating climate change is his top priority.
“What are you going to do to support people who have been damaged?” asked Steyer. “The answer is you have to help them.”
Steyer says he’d urgently invest in climate-friendly infrastructure before something drastic is needed.
“I was talking to someone from San Diego about a month ago, maybe two, and they said, ‘We’re going to do managed retreat here,'” said Steyer. “I was like, ‘What the hell is managed retreat?’ He said, ‘Moving the city.’ That’s my point. We need to make sure we address this and that’s why I’d declare a state of emergency on day one.”
Former mayor Pete Buttigieg held a community event in Sumter on Friday to talk about environmental justice.