Environmental issues like rising sea levels continue to threaten the Sunshine State, and lawmakers are working to effectively respond to the growing concern. This week, the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee approved SB1954 unanimously. It includes providing up to $100 million a year on projects that would respond to flooding and sea-level rise, and it also paves the way for a grant program for local governments.
Florida Senator Ray Rodrigues (R), a sponsor of the bill, argued that “under this grant program, the Department of Environmental Protection will provide grants to local governments to cover the cost of community resilience planning.” As an example, Rodrigues added that this would include “conducting vulnerability assessments and developing plans and policies to allow communities to prepare for the threat from flooding and from sea-level rise.”
According to SeaLevelRise.org, “the sea level around Florida is up to 8 inches higher than it was in 1950.” Moreover, “the sea level around Virginia Key, Florida, has risen by 8 inches since 1950.” The “speed of rise has accelerated over the last ten years and it’s now rising by 1 inch. Every 3 years.”
The proposal is part of a plan that Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R) introduced last month, which includes a plan spanning three years to address statewide flooding and sea-level resilience. This plan would annually be updated by the Department of Environmental Protection.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R), who proposed a four-year plan of $1 billion to assist communities in fighting the sea-level rise, has argued that a portion of the COVID-19 relief money. Should be directed to the efforts.