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After flooding, when is it time to pick up and leave?

On Sunday, May 27, thunderstorms pounded the Baltimore region for hours. The storm morphed Old Ellicott City into a deadly flood zone. Here’s how it happened. (Baltimore Sun video)

The article by Kevin Rector, "Closing up Ellicott City isn’t as easy as drawing new lines on a flood map. The town means so much more" (May 30), deeply affected and stirred me to write this letter to the editor. Leaving one's home is never easy, but the gravity is enhanced when forced to leave it behind forever.

The residents of Ellicott City face a question about their future in which they are not alone: Should they pick up and leave? It is a question communities have faced in Alaska, Louisiana and even on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It is a question that presents the potential reality of being the most recent climate refugees. Unfortunately, this is a question more communities will face over the coming decades, especially in Maryland which is prone to flooding.

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Maryland and its communities need to consider adaptation to flooding and climate change, as well as disaster preparedness. What can be put in place now, and how can we develop in a way that will not increase risks — unbridled development and land use changes need to be checked.

Maryland also needs to seriously consider how we can reduce our impact on the climate. In addition to the necessity of rejecting the expansion of natural gas pipelines and infrastructure throughout the state, another answer has been presented to Annapolis — the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act. A proposal that would increase Maryland’s renewable energy to 50 percent by 2030 and place us on the path to 100 percent, reducing the severity of consequences due to climate change.

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Courtney Dyson, La Plata

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