Resiliency, sea-level rise bill clears Senate panel
Rapidly rising sea levels will be measured in feet, not inches.

In support: Audubon Florida, the Florida League of Cities, the Sierra Club.

On Monday, the Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee approved legislation to create a Statewide Office of Resiliency in the Governor’s office and create a Statewide Sea-Level Rise Task Force.

SPB 7016 was the panel’s committee bill.

The legislation continues a recent environmental tack toward acknowledging climate science, a novelty to some degree in Tallahassee despite the impact of climate change and sea level rise.

During the Rick Scott era, the concept of “climate change” was officially discounted, though Scott has trumpeted his “record environmental spending” in statements and media releases both during and after his time in the Governor’s Mansion.

Sen. Tom Lee, a Thonotosassa Republican, lauded the “bold pivot” by the Executive Branch in acknowledging these issues.

Lee acknowledged “king tides” and other phenomena as products of “changes in our climate.”

“We’re putting billions of dollars into infrastructure every years,” Lee said, noting that these moves will help with “policy adjustments.

The bill, Lee said, “codified” the Office of Resiliency.

Dr. Julia Nesheiwat was appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis as Florida’s first Chief Resilience Officer in July.

In the media release announcing her appointment, Nesheiwat mentioned that she was a Lake County native, and also used the once-verboten phrase “climate change.”

The committee bill also establishes a sea-level rise task force that will include Nesheiwat, the Chief Science Officer from the Department of Environmental Protection, and others.

DEP would also administer a $500,000 budget for studies conducted or evaluated by the task force.

Also included in the task force: one appointee each from the House Speaker and Senate President, and representatives of the Department of Transportation, Division of Emergency Management. Department of Agriculture, Division of Fish and Wildlife, and Department of Economic Opportunity.

The task force sunsets in 2023. It convenes in 2020, with recommendations due by Jan 1, 2021.

In support: Audubon Florida, the Florida League of Cities, the Sierra Club.

Sen. Janet Cruz, a Tampa Democrat, said the task force was a “step in the right direction.”

However, the state is “behind the curve.”

“Climate change is going to impact our state, its infrastructure, and the economy in this generation,” Cruz warned.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Phil Compton

    December 10, 2019 at 9:44 am

    We must do two things to survive:
    1) prepare for the impact of sea level rise, higher temperatures, etc. = resiliency,
    2) stop doing what we’re doing that’s creating this crisis: burning fossil fuels. 166 U.S. cities and 7 states have committed to a 100% clean energy future by 2050 at the latest. Tampa, Hillsborourgh and Pinellas Counties need to join them in this commitment.

    • gary

      December 10, 2019 at 3:43 pm

      You are being manipulated! Climate change is a hoax to control the world.

Comments are closed.


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