TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – A proposal to set up a new resiliency office directly under Gov. Ron DeSantis is headed to the governor.
The Senate on Wednesday unanimously backed the measure (HB 7053), which had already been approved by the House and would carry out a priority of DeSantis.
Sen. Lori Berman, D-Delray Beach, said the resiliency office needs to do more than “remedy the problems” of rising seas.
“I do think we need to address the reason why we have to have a resiliency officer, and that is climate change,” Berman said.
DeSantis used an executive order to create the Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection in the Department of Environmental Protection days after he became governor in January 2019.
In addition to setting up the office under DeSantis, the bill would require the development of a resilience action plan for the state highway system, require a prioritized list of resilience projects that would include costs and timelines and create a database that would identify such things as medical centers, utilities, emergency operation centers and airports that would be threatened by rising sea levels.
The measure also would build on a law approved last year that created a Resilient Florida Grant Program.
“Flooding affects communities of all sizes,” American Flood Coalition Florida Director Kate Wesner said in a prepared statement. “With grants available for pre-construction, smaller communities on the frontlines of flooding will have resources to scope and plan resilience projects, with an eye toward the future.”
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