U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is urging Congress to “face the facts” and acknowledge that the weather is getting worse. Speaking from the shoreline of Lake Michigan in Chicago, Durbin said lake levels continue to decline, and if that continues, it will have a drastic impact on the nation. If Lake Michigan levels fall another six inches, the Chicago River would reverse flow and the locks that are used by barges would be shuttered.
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Lake Michigan’s level is 28 inches below the long-term average and the Mississippi River is also nearing historic low-water levels. Durbin says extreme weather, like this summer’s drought, should serve as a wake-up call. “While the case of a single weather event cannot be traced to climate change, extreme weather events do serve as wake-up calls that an environmental crisis of global proportions is occurring,”
“Congress can no longer afford to ignore this issue. We ought to face the reality of greenhouse gas emission and create energy and environmental policies to reduce their destructive impact. We need to invest in renewable energy and pollution controls to help slow the effects of climate change and protect our public health.” In 2011 the Federal Emergency Management Agency declared 97 weather disasters, a new record.