New Florida Legislation Advances the Prioritization of Climate Resilience
(Florida – April 28, 2023) - In recent weeks, new legislation has advanced the prioritization of climate resilience in the state of Florida. And with another hurricane season fast approaching, increased funding and efforts to support communities vulnerable to storm risk will prove essential.
HB 111, a bill introduced by Representative Christine Hunschofsky, aims to expand the requirements of Florida’s Sea-Level Impact Projection (SLIP) studies. Currently, publicly funded projects within the coastal construction zone are required to perform a SLIP study before breaking ground. But under this new bill, that requirement will expand to projects in all areas threatened by current and projected sea level rise, not just in areas directly on the coast. Moving through the Senate with unanimous House approval, this bill exemplifies a bipartisan effort to build climate and flood resilience in Florida.
Additional enabling legislation authorized the state to be eligible for FEMA’s Safeguarding Tomorrow Revolving Loan Fund program. This now allows Florida to apply for federal funding that will provide local governments with direct low interest loans that reduce risks from natural hazards and disasters. This revolving loan program, intended to reduce the burden of grant applications, has the potential to support building climate resilience, offer opportunities to implement natural infrastructure, address multiple flood risks and prioritize environmental justice across Florida.
On behalf of Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Rachel Rhode, manager for EDF’s Climate Resilient Coasts & Watersheds program in Florida, commends lawmakers for recognizing the importance of building climate resilience and empowering Florida communities to better combat flood risk and sea level rise. “It's exciting to see Florida take advantage of additional federal funding opportunities to better prepare all communities throughout the state against the ever-increasing climate impacts,” said Rhode. “We encourage Florida leaders to continue on this trajectory by making decisions based on science, prioritizing nature-based solutions and recognizing the complex challenges communities face in the wake of devastating climate impacts.”
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