The House gave final approval to a bill prohibiting the state to use sea-level rise predictions for coastal planning purposes in a debate that strayed into whether climate change is a scientifically proven phenomenon.
"We are talking about science over and over here," said Rep. Frank Iler, a coastal Republican. "I would submit what we are calling science is not science."
The 68-46 vote followed Senate approval Monday. The bill now goes to Gov. Bev Perdue.
The new language in House Bill 819 removes a proposal to put strict controls on the science of predicting how fast the seas will rise along North Carolina’s coast – a measure that made the state a punch line on late-night comedy shows.
In the new study, the Coastal Resources Commission’s science panel must also consider the economic cost to the state if it prohibits development based on sea-level regulations. The compromise also seeks different predictions for different coastal regions. The final report is due by March 31, 2015. No regulations are allowed to take effect until July 1, 2016.