Click here to watch the Senator’s speech.
WASHINGTON – In the wake of the third nor’easter in two weeks, Senator Maggie Hassan spoke on the Senate floor today to highlight the devastating impacts of climate change in New Hampshire and across the country, and stressed the urgent need to act to combat climate change.
Senator Hassan discussed the impact climate change has had on the Seacoast in New Hampshire, resulting in rising sea levels and a heightened risk of flooding in coastal communities. The Senator commended efforts underway on the Seacoast to address these challenges, and emphasized the importance of supporting their efforts by improving infrastructure in these vulnerable communities and developing resilience strategies to help plan ahead of storms and other extreme weather events.
The Senator also called out President Trump for his agenda of climate change denial and filling his Administration “with climate change skeptics who have placed the priorities of Big Oil companies over the protection of our natural resources.”
See below for Senator Hassan’s full remarks or watch the speech here:
M. President, I rise today to discuss the devastating impacts of climate change in my home state of New Hampshire and across our country.
And I want to start by commending our colleague, Senator Whitehouse, who has been a fierce advocate for this issue – and as of yesterday had taken to the floor 200 times to call on Congress to wake up and protect our environment.
M. President, I am proud to represent a state whose beautiful natural resources strengthen our economy, create jobs, and support our high quality of life. But we are already seeing the real impacts of climate change in New Hampshire – impacts with major consequences.
Last year, the National Climate Assessment report reinforced what has long been clear: Human activity is the driving force behind our changing climate – and the United States is experiencing more extreme weather events, including dangerous heat, heavier rainfall and more flooding, and larger wildfires as a result.... Threatening both our long-term economic growth and the well-being of our citizens.
Many people in New Hampshire – particularly on our Seacoast – are concerned about what these stronger and more frequent storms will mean for their families, their homes, and their businesses.
Rising sea levels and greater precipitation have heightened the risk of flooding on our coasts. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association estimates that New Hampshire’s sea levels are expected to rise between 0.6 and 2.0 feet by 2050 and between 1.6 and 6.6 feet by 2100.
And in just the last two weeks, our state has been hit by three Nor’easters… M. President this is not normal.
You can see here the flooding that impacted streets and homes in Portsmouth, New Hampshire during one of these storms. This chart depicts a photo.
We must help our people adapt to these changes… these direct threats that they face. This starts with focusing on efforts like coastal resiliency to help vulnerable communities prepare… improving our infrastructure and developing resilience strategies to help plan ahead of storms and extreme weather events.
People at the local level in New Hampshire’s Seacoast are already doing great work to be proactive and address these challenges head on… so we must support their efforts.
But we must also keep working to mitigate climate change, which is why I am continuing to push to cut carbon emissions, conserve and protect our natural resources, and to build a stronger clean energy future.
Unfortunately, President Trump has been focused on an agenda that is based on climate change denial, and has stacked his Administration with climate change skeptics who have placed the priorities of Big Oil companies over the protection of our natural resources.
According to a recent Politico report, President Trump has chosen at least 20 people to serve as agency leaders and advisers who have publically disagreed with the settled science on climate change. And he’s left key positions vacant – including a Science Advisor at the Office of Science and Technology Policy… an unprecedented move over the last several decades in which the office has existed.
This clear disdain for science and failure to acknowledge the reality of the dangers of climate change are seen throughout the Administration policies.
Last year, President Trump recklessly withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement … failing to listen to the voices of environmental and business leaders who supported this agreement. The United States of America now has the distinction of being the only country in the world that is not supporting it.
E.P.A Administrator Scott Pruitt is working to repeal the Clean Power Plan, which is critical to reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and helping our citizens, businesses, and economy thrive…
We’ve seen several clean air and clean water protections rolled back…
And in addition to reversing environmental protections, the Administration is taking further steps that can carry extreme risk for our environment.
This includes the irresponsible plan to open up 90% of our nation’s coastal waters– including New Hampshire’s Seacoast– to the dangers of offshore drilling.
M. President, we are clearly seeing the impacts of climate change. Our citizens are calling on us to act. But the lack of leadership from this Administration and the actions they have taken that exacerbate our climate and environmental challenges are – to put it mildly – irresponsible.
We need to take proactive steps to protect our environment – not roll back key protections…
We need to help communities threatened by a changing climate – not put the profits of Big Oil first…
We need to stand up for science – not deny it…
I’ll keep working to address climate change, and to achieve a cleaner environment and stronger energy future that will help our citizens, economy, and businesses thrive.
And I urge my colleagues to do the same.