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DeSantis signs legislation into law addressing sea level rise

Rising water left some Central Florida homes flooded after Hurricane Irma in 2017. Photo by Amy Green

Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed legislation into law aimed at strengthening state and local infrastructure against flooding and sea level rise.  

The measure builds upon legislation approved last year that, among other things, offered funding for local resilience planning and called for a statewide vulnerability assessment.  

Beth Alvi of Audubon Florida says this bill goes further by, for instance, codifying the state chief resilience officer into law. She says the state is showing more leadership on these issues. 

“Rather than just draining flood-prone areas upstream, which could aggravate flooding downstream, let’s look at it comprehensively. And that’s where the state and DEP have a role, and Wes Brooks, our resiliency officer.” 

Others have criticized DeSantis’ inaction on the causes behind sea level rise and climate change, like fossil fuels. State Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, says the measure does the “bare minimum.” 

“There is an emphasis on resilience, which is important, but nothing on actual mitigation or helping to combat our carbon production and the human actions that are causing sea level rise in the first place.” 

The governor, a Republican, faces re-election this year. 

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