At his press conference in Tarpon Springs, alongside Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls, DeSantis expressed the importance of the two bills and added that they were “the most significant steps that have been taken in Florida in quite some time.”
He also noted, “As soon as I took office we developed a bold agenda to be good stewards of Florida’s environment and a key component of that agenda has been recognizing and addressing coastal resiliency and flood mitigation.”
The approval of SB 1954 creates the Resilient Florida Grant Program that allows the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to help local governments by providing grant funding to protect against flooding caused by rising sea levels. The bill includes a provision related to Applied Research and Innovation by the University of South Florida College of Marine Science called the Florida Flood Hub. The Florida Flood Hub will analyze different tactics that help improve flooding issues and report their findings each year to the Governor.
The other approved bill, SB 2514, establishes the Resilient Florida Trust Fund through the DEP that ultimately funds all the programs described in SB 1954 by allocating $100 million annually towards grants, implementation, and other operational costs regarding the Resilient Florida Grant Program and the Statewide Flooding and Sea Level Rise Resilience Plan.
Florida joins California in sea level mitigation as it developed the Sea Level Rise Mitigation and Adaptation Act in 2020 that requires local governments to collaborate with regional and statewide offices to tackle sea level issues while also requiring the California Coastal Commission to include sea level rise when considering legislation.
The two bills will take effect on July 1, 2021.
– – –
Casey Owens is a writer for The Florida Capital Star. Follow him on Twitter at @cowensreports. Email tips to caseyowensreports.com.