"State lawmakers ran into a problem this year when recommending a study on rising sea levels and their potential impacts on coastal Virginia. It was not a scientific problem or a financial one. It was linguistic."
"They discovered that they could not use the phrases 'sea level rise' or 'climate change' in requesting the study, in part because of objections from Republican colleagues and also for fear of stirring up conservative activists, some of whom believe such terms are liberal code words.
On its website, for example, the Virginia tea party described the proposed 'sea level rise' study this way: 'More wasted tax dollars for more ridiculous studies designed to separate us from our money and control all land and water use.'
The group urged its members to contact elected officials right away to defeat the measure: 'They will pass this without blinking if we don't yell loudly.'
So lawmakers did away with all mention of sea level rise, substituting a more politically neutral phrase: 'recurrent flooding.'
The amended study, while fixed on the same research, sailed through the General Assembly and was signed by Gov. Bob McDonnell, who also has raised questions about what is causing slightly higher temperatures on the planet.
The episode illustrates the continuing, even increasing, volatility of climate change as a policy issue in Virginia, at the same time that other states and whole nations are moving forward with plans to combat the phenomenon."