Sen. Ray Rodrigues and Rep. Chip LaMarca are spearheading legislation aimed at preparing the state for rising sea levels due to climate change.
“I’m grateful to have a partner in Rep. LaMarca who, like me, has been a tireless champion on the environment,” said Rodrigues, an Estero Republican, in a statement Thursday promoting the plan.
“Together, we can address the emerging threat of flooding in our great state and become a leader for resiliency. Flooding not only impacts our beautiful natural resources but also our property values and our tourism economy.”
The nine-person task force would include the state’s Chief Resilience Officer and Chief Science Officer. The Senate President and House Speaker would each name one member. Various other agency members would make up the remainder of the commission.
“The task force shall develop official scientific information, from appropriate sources as determined by the task force, necessary to make recommendations on consensus baseline projections, or a range of projections, of the expected rise in sea level along the state’s coastline for planning horizons designated by the task force,” the legislation reads.
“The projections may address various geographic areas of the state, as determined by the task force.”
The task force would then submit those projections by Jan. 1, 2022. Those projections “must be used for the purpose of developing future state projects, plans, and programs.”
“Climate change is an issue that has been a priority for me since my days in local government, and I’m proud to partner with Sen. Rodrigues on this legislation,” added LaMarca, a Lighthouse Point Republican.
“Climate change isn’t a tomorrow issue, it’s a right now issue. Banning offshore drilling, investing in shore protection and beach renourishment projects, and supporting clean energy solutions are important, but we need smarter investment so that we can develop science-based solutions to this growing problem. Resiliency is a climate issue, it’s an environmental issue, and it’s a financial issue. It’s time that Florida becomes a leader on climate change.”