DeSantis signs law aimed at protecting state from sea level rise
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Florida, which is one of the most vulnerable places in the world to sea level rise, will spend hundreds of millions of dollars over the next few years to protect against coastal flooding under a bill signed by Governor DeSantis on Wednesday.
The Department of Environmental Protection will be required to prepare a flooding and resiliency plan. The department will also provide up to $100 million annually to local communities who identify areas along the coast and other waterways that are at risk to sea level rise, reported the Associated Press.
“This is a really significant amount of resources, we’re really putting our money where our mouth is when it comes to protecting the state of Florida, particularly our coastal communities, from the risks of flooding,” DeSantis said at a bill signing ceremony in Tarpon Springs.
Some areas of the state are already seeing flooding on clear days during particularly high tides, reported AP.
Republican House Speaker Chris Sprowls said the state needs to not only protect the environment, but to protect homes and businesses “from the might of Mother Nature.”
“With sea level rise, we see our risk grow exponentially, from storm surge and tidal flooding to groundwater and flash flooding,” Sprowls said. “We can debate all day the whys and how this happens, but if we just do that and we just debate it all day, we wouldn’t do anything.”
The bill signed by DeSantis was unanimously passed in the House and Senate.
The DEP will also be required to map out areas most at risk from coastal flooding and rising seas. A research center based at the University of South Florida will also be established, focusing on counteracting flooding and the risks from sea level rise, reported AP.
Development on Florida’s low-lying coast in places like Miami and other cities eventually could be devastated by flooding.
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