Friday, August 19, 2016

Alaskan village threatened by rising sea levels votes for costly relocation

The residents of a small coastal Alaskan village have voted to move to the mainland because of rising sea levels, but they may not have the funds to do it. The 600-person village of Shishmaref, located on an island just north of the Bering Strait, has for decades been ravaged by erosion tied to climate change, leading residents to seek a more sustainable place to live. But the community is racked by poverty, making it difficult to relocate, which is estimated to cost $180m. Officials held a special election on Tuesday so residents could vote on whether to relocate or to stay and add environmental defenses. The vote was relatively close, with 89 for relocating and 78 to remain. But both choices came with a steep price tag. The most recent estimate on relocating, from a 2004 Army Corps of Engineers study, was $180m. Officials said it would cost $110m for the environmental protections needed for the community to safely stay in one of Alaska’s most eroded coastal areas...more

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