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VIDEO: Hampton Roads Leaders and Community Advocates to Call for Climate Investment to Protect Vital National Security Infrastructure

"...this is an issue of national importance - affecting national security at the world's largest naval base and a port that serves much of the country"

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Good stuff from the Climate Action Campaign, ” a vibrant coalition of a dozen major national environment, environmental justice, and public health groups, working together to drive ambitious, durable federal action based on science, to address the climate crisis”:

“On Friday, February 25, 2022, at 11:00 AM EST, Portsmouth Mayor Shannon Glover, Norfolk City Councilwoman Andria McClellan, and former Obama Administration Climate Aide Phil Hernandez [joined] military veterans and local union leaders in a press conference calling on the U.S. Senate to pass critical funding to protect national security infrastructure and American jobs against the escalating effects of climate change…The growing frequency and impact of extreme weather events inevitably also affect military preparedness and infrastructure around the country. Several U.S. coastal military bases, including ones located in Virginia, are projected to experience permanent land loss and over 1,000% increase in annual instances of flooding by 2050. Virginia’s Hampton Roads region is home to the largest naval base in the world where 150,000 active duty and civilian personnel serve.

Hampton Roads Leaders and Community Advocates Call for Climate Investment to Protect Vital National Security Infrastructure

(Norfolk, VA) – Today, Portsmouth Mayor Shannon Glover, Norfolk City Councilwoman Andria McClellan, and former Obama Administration Climate Aide Phil Hernandez joined military veterans and local union leaders for a press conference calling on the U.S. Senate to pass critical funding to protect national security infrastructure and American jobs against the escalating effects of climate change.

Speakers thanked Senator Mark Warner for his past leadership on climate and security, and urged him to champion the measures passed by the House of Representatives in November, which contain $550 billion of critical investments to advance climate justice, promote national security, and create clean energy jobs. This legislation is an unprecedented commitment to the fight against climate change and will put the U.S. on course to meet President Biden’s goal to cut greenhouse emissions in half by 2030.

“I have had the privilege to understand Hampton Roads’ importance as a mayor, business owner, and from my service in the U.S. Navy,” said Mayor Glover. “The future of our region’s commerce, job market, and quality of life are all heavily tied in with our continued relationships with our military installations. The investments under consideration are about protecting Virginia and the U.S. from climate change, but they are also about protecting one of the main drivers of our prosperity. We need Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine to work to win over their colleagues and pass this funding, so we can confront climate change and set ourselves up to build on our economic growth in the years to come.”

“We are working at the local, regional and state level to identify creative solutions – and funding to address the climate crisis,” said Norfolk Councilmember McClellan. “But this is an issue of national importance – affecting national security at the world’s largest naval base and a port that serves much of the country.  Federal support is absolutely paramount to implementing our solutions, and this climate funding will give us resources needed to scale our efforts in a more timely manner.  The climate crisis is not a future issue, it’s affecting us here and now. We know climate and security are top of mind for Virginia’s Senators, and we are counting on them to fight to deliver the votes needed to pass this legislation in the Senate.”

Virginia’s Hampton Roads region is home to the largest naval base in the world, where 150,000 active duty and civilian personnel serve. The growing frequency and impact of extreme weather events inevitably compromises military preparedness and infrastructure around the country as well. Several U.S. coastal military bases, including ones located in Virginia, are projected to experience permanent land loss and over 1,000% increase in annual instances of flooding by 2050.

“Virginia is home to the largest naval base in the world, to nearly 5 million people living in its coastal regions, and to some of the most advanced sustainable energy industries in the country,” said Dave Belote, former fighter base commander and Pentagon energy office director. “That means that the climate threat is especially dire here, but it also illustrates we are in a fantastic position to build out our infrastructure, incentives, and industries in a way that turns a crisis into an opportunity. We can strengthen national security and the wellbeing of our communities in the process. This is $550 billion in absolutely essential funding for military readiness, a sustainable and independent American energy future, and environmental justice in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

59% of the state’s population lives in its coastal regions. Additionally, many of the state’s key industries, including those that support defense infrastructure, are jeopardized by erosion, increased flooding, and severe storms. The climate package currently before the Senate will empower Virginia to build climate-resilient infrastructure to protect lives and livelihoods. It will also provide a major boost to Virginia’s growing clean energy industry, which bolsters national security through increased American energy independence, and will create over 85,000 jobs in Virginia over the next five years.

“The climate crisis is not some hypothetical challenge, but an ongoing threat to the safety, security, and opportunity we are working to achieve in our Commonwealth,” said Phil Hernandez. “Coastal erosion, not to mention the extreme storms that accelerate it, is endangering the economic vitality of some of our most vulnerable communities and poses serious issues for the many military installations in Virginia. The $550 billion in climate funding would shore up national security and provide a critical opportunity for states like Virginia to build a climate-resilient economy that lifts up underserved communities instead of leaving them in jeopardy.”

A video of the in-person press conference can be found HERE.

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