WASHINGTON (Nexstar) – The Senate Budget Committee held a hearing on the impact of climate change and sea level rise on coastal communities as lawmakers reach an impasse on addressing the problem.

On Capitol Hill, experts dedicated to studying climate change told lawmakers rising sea levels are having devastating impacts on the country.

“The sea level along the eastern seaboard of the United States has been rising three to four times faster than the global average,” said Dr. Sean Becketti of Elliot Bay Analytics.

 Witnesses told lawmakers the consequences will continue to get worse.

“Insurance companies may choose between steadily rising premiums or simply failing to renew policies when these risks become near-certainties,” Becketti said – noting that could cause property values to plummet.

Kate Michaud — town manager of Warren, Rhode Island — says her town studied the high cost of doing nothing.

“By the year 2100, 306 of the area’s 400 buildings could be lost permanently to the rising water,” Michaud said.

Additionally, Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) said coastal flooding will impact not just California homes and tourism, but some 400 facilities that could cause disasters if they flood, “including power plants, refineries, industrial facilities and hazardous waste sites.”

Democrats want to switch to clean energy to prevent sea levels from rising even faster because of a warming planet. 

However, Senator Ron Johnson is cold on the idea of phasing out the use of fossil fuels like oil and coal.

“I don’t see how mankind can make even a negligible impact on changing the climate change which always changes,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said.

Instead of trying to prevent it, Johnson insists the focus should be strictly on trying to mitigate the impact of the rising seas.