Florida House passes bill to establish climate change resiliency office
Florida’s state House on Wednesday passed a measure to create a state climate resilience office, with only a single nay vote against the move.
The bill would require the state to develop a resilience strategy for its highways as well as a list of other resilience projects, with a list of priorities and cost estimates. It would also create a central database of sites such as hospitals, utility headquarters and airports at direct risk from rising sea levels.
A bill with similar provisions is pending in Florida’s Senate, unanimously passing out of the chamber’s Environment and Appropriations committees earlier this year.
State Rep. Anthoni Sabatini (R) was the only vote against the House bill, with the remaining 114 members backing the measure.
However, the chamber’s Republican majority voted down an amendment that would require the state’s resilience officer to factor in root causes of climate change. The primary driver of climate change is greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.
State Rep. Demi Busatta Cabrera (R), the sponsor of the bill, said such amendments would be “toxic politics,” according to The Tampa Bay Times.
State Rep. Ben Diamond (D), who voted for the bill in its final form, criticized it as overly reactive without addressing those root causes, saying on the House floor that “only erecting walls to protect highways to mitigate against flooding is like putting a band-aid on a broken bone.”
“There’s two sides to this problem: There’s protecting our communities and making our communities more resilient to the issues of flooding and sea level rise, but then there’s also stopping the causes of those problems in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, in terms of reducing our carbon emissions,” Diamond told WUSF Public Media.
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