Rising Sea Levels Endanger Coastal Infrastructure Across the U.S.

Rising Sea Levels Endanger Coastal Infrastructure Across the U.S.

A report from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) warns that critical infrastructure along the U.S. coastline, including Florida and Maine, faces significant flooding risks due to climate change-driven sea level rise. The UCS analysis highlights that over 1,600 critical infrastructure assets, such as affordable housing, schools, sewer plants, and energy facilities, could be subjected to flooding at least twice per year by 2050. More than half of these at-risk infrastructures are located in disadvantaged communities, serving nearly 2.9 million people. By 2100, this number could increase dramatically, affecting over 5,300 assets nationwide.

In Maine, the report identifies specific at-risk structures, including a power plant, a post office, wastewater treatment plants, and polluted industrial sites in Bath. By 2030, these structures could experience high-tide floods under a business-as-usual emissions scenario, with the number of sites potentially rising to 64 across 31 towns by 2100. The study urges state and coastal communities to adapt and build resilience to mitigate these impacts. Similar risks are identified for Long Island Sound, where 39 critical infrastructure assets, including a power plant and electrical substation in Bridgeport, could flood as often as twice a month by 2050. The UCS calls for urgent action to reduce heat-trapping emissions to slow sea level rise and protect vulnerable coastal communities.

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