Senators plan overhaul of coastal resilience measures

Sen. Jason Brodeur tabled an amendment fleshing out its bill to tackle sea level rise, as part of an effort to improve a 2021 environmental policy law.

During his first week in office in 2019, Governor. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order on the environment which created the Office of Coastal Resilience and Protection within the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Brodeur’s Bill (SB 1940) would codify a statewide Office of Resilience within the Governor’s office and place the Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) at the head of the office. But with Brodeur’s proposed changes to this bill, the one-page measure would expand to more than 20 pages and include adjustments to state processes within the DEP and beyond.

The bill, including Brodeur’s amendment, is scheduled for a hearing in Sanford’s Republican Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee. This would be the first of three committee hearings on the proposal.

The amendment follows a bill last year, prioritized by the President of the Chamber Chris Sprowswhich created a Coastal Resilience Grant Program within DEP to respond to sea level rise. The Resilient Florida Grant Program has an annual commitment of $100 million to combat rising sea levels. sea ​​level and mitigation efforts.

In Brodeur’s final proposed wording, the measure would add small town and county projects in the statewide flood and sea level rise resilience plan to the list of projects that can be eligible for the Florida Resilient Grants program. It would also link drainage districts, flood control districts and certain special districts to the list of government entities that can apply for funding under the resilience plan.

Additionally, the amendment directs the Department of Transportation to create a Resilience Action Plan for the National Highway System addressing vulnerabilities around tidal waters, precipitation, storm surge flooding and storm surge projections. sea ​​level rise.

Although there is no similar bill in the House, it is not the first time both chambers attempted to formalize the Office of Resilience. However, past efforts have failed.

DeSantis received bipartisan praise in January 2019 when he issued the executive order tackling environmental issues. Following this order, DeSantis appointed Julia Nesheiwat as the state’s first CRO. After 20 months of uncertainty for role after Nesheiwat’s departure of being a Homeland Security Advisor to the President donald trumpDeSantis, in November 2021, named Wesley Brooks as CRO.

In December, DeSantis announced $276 million for what he called a proactive approach to combating rising sea levels. Simultaneously, the governor criticized leftist ideologies and people who use global warming rhetoric, calling his measure a response to flooding and to sea level rise.

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