Thousands of facilities are located in areas considered at high risk for flooding, with hundreds in areas that may be inundated by storm surge or with high wildfire hazard potential. The report found that more than 150 facilities, especially in the Gulf Coast, are located in areas that may become subject to at least one foot of sea level rise — and that the risk of flooding at high tide is already present in the vast majority of them, 133 facilities.
“The GAO report itself is good, though like most government reports, it understates the threat in bureaucratese,” said Kevin Bell, an environmental attorney with the nonprofit Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, who has challenged the EPA in court. “A major winter storm or hurricane exacerbated by climate change can knock out power to dozens or hundreds of facilities storing who knows what kinds of chemicals. What it does not do is describe in relatable terms what that means: a rolling fog of who-knows-which mystery chemicals that can travel for miles before dissipating.”