Alaska coastal towns endangered by rising sea levels as climate-change aid dries up

BY WILSON SOTO | PUBLISHED: 08-11-2017

Shishmaref's residents voted in August to relocate to the mainland, but they have no funding to do so. Newtok requested federal funds in January to help its residents relocate but has so far been left emptyhanded.

The Trump administration's rejection of climate change science isn't getting a warm reception on the Alaskan coast. Rising sea levels are already flooding and may eventually completely submerge a string of towns and villages throughout the region, according to local and federal officials, who said that Trump's systematic defunding of "climate-adaptation" programs that help communities cope with climate change's impacts make their situation even worse.

The Army Corps of Engineers lists 31 Alaskan communities as being in "imminent" existential danger from coastline erosion, flooding, and other consequences of warming temperatures. Several communitiesKivalina, Newtok, Shashmaref, and Shaktoolikare in so much peril that their entire populations will need to be relocated to higher ground.
Shishmaref's residents voted in August to relocate to the mainland, but they have no funding to do so. Newtok requested federal funds in January to help its residents relocate but has so far been left emptyhanded.

The Denali Commission, an Anchorage-based agency, has been developing plans to safeguard or relocate many threatened Alaska towns. The commission is one of many climate-adaptation programs that the Obama administration supported as a means to help communities cope with climate change's impacts.

The Trump administration has moved to defund and dismantle most of these programs, however, according to Joel Clement, an Interior department official, told the Guardian. Clement had been working with Alaskan communities on climate adaptation until the new Trump-appointed Interior leadership reassigned him to a completely different position. He has filed a formal complaint protesting the reassignment.
"We were getting down to the brass tacks of relocation [of towns at risk] and now work has just stopped," Clement told the Guardian

 

 

Comments
Laurel Kornfeld - Sep 19, 2017
Shishmaref’s residents voted in August to relocate to the mainland, but they have no funding to do so. Newtok requested federal funds in January to help its residents relocate but has so far been left emptyhanded.
Laurel Kornfeld - Sep 19, 2017
Shishmaref’s residents voted in August to relocate to the mainland, but they have no funding to do so. Newtok requested federal funds in January to help its residents relocate but has so far been left emptyhanded.
Wilson Soto - Sep 19, 2017
Shishmaref’s residents voted in August to relocate to the mainland, but they have no funding to do so. Newtok requested federal funds in January to help its residents relocate but has so far been left emptyhanded.
Dan Taylor - Sep 19, 2017
Shishmaref’s residents voted in August to relocate to the mainland, but they have no funding to do so. Newtok requested federal funds in January to help its residents relocate but has so far been left emptyhanded.
Laurel Kornfeld - Sep 18, 2017
Shishmaref’s residents voted in August to relocate to the mainland, but they have no funding to do so. Newtok requested federal funds in January to help its residents relocate but has so far been left emptyhanded.
Joseph Scalise - Sep 18, 2017
Shishmaref’s residents voted in August to relocate to the mainland, but they have no funding to do so. Newtok requested federal funds in January to help its residents relocate but has so far been left emptyhanded.
Joyce Clark - Sep 16, 2017
Shishmaref’s residents voted in August to relocate to the mainland, but they have no funding to do so. Newtok requested federal funds in January to help its residents relocate but has so far been left emptyhanded.