Commissioner: ‘The county is in the center of the eye of climate change’

Commissioner Rob Zapple joined other elected and community leaders in calling for stronger clean car standards
Published: Dec. 15, 2021 at 5:43 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Area leaders, clean air advocates and national security experts recently announced a push for clean transportation and called upon North Carolina’s leaders to support a move toward zero pollution vehicles.

In an interview with County Commissioner Rob Zapple, WECT’s Ashlea Kosikowski asked why this is important.

“New Hanover County is already in the center of the eye of climate change,” he said. “It’s happening to us and it’s already costing us millions of dollars.”

He said it can be seen in the Wilmington downtown area.

“We have over 100 days now of what’s called, ‘sunny-day flooding’ — over by the Battle Ship in the parking lot and on Water Street, you often see anywhere from six inches to two feet of water that’s coming in — over 100 days,” said Zapple. “That’s all a portion of what’s happening with climate change.”

He said that on a regular basis the county sees five to seven inches of rain coming in from unnamed storms. When combined with King Tides, it causes severe erosion of the New Hanover County coastline which takes away protection from properties, businesses and lives.

“We have to keep those beaches renourished,” said Zapple, who said erosion was a result of climate change.

As carbon emissions are linked to climate change, Zapple said leaders are pushing to make clean car standards stronger, but support from the federal and state level is needed.

He said initiatives and programs brought down from the state and federal level can be enacted here to reduce greenhouse gases.

Zapple talked about the new Toyota plant coming to Greensboro that will manufacture electric car batteries and noted that green energy is creating jobs.

He said that locally, individuals need to be more aware of green energy and, when affordable, make the shift toward electric vehicles. Zapple also encouraged people to get informed about wind power initiatives off the coast of North Carolina.

“When you can support it, please do so as we transition to lessen our carbon footprint.”

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