This is gonna hurt: Hurricane Irene makes landfall, Aug. 27, 2011. (Photo by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.)

Cross-posted from the Bay Journal News Service.

In Northumberland County, Va., the Board of Supervisors has tentatively approved a massive home/resort/marina complex on Bluff Point, a marshy, wooded peninsula jutting into the Chesapeake Bay from Virginia’s lovely Northern Neck. The rural county -- four stoplights, 13,000 residents -- acknowledges in its master development plan that sea levels are rising, and places Bluff Point in a “conservation” zone; but after consulting experts paid for partly by the developer, the supervisors granted an “exception.”

It’s the latest example, on the shores of North America’s largest estuary, of science getting drowned out when developers wave big money at county officials craving revenue. And it’s an important story, as the Chesapeake is something of a ground zero for climate change: At the same time sea levels are rising, the land around the bay is sinking as a result of local geology. Larger-than-ever storm surges are a certainty.