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DeSantis signs bill creating resiliency office to address flooding, sea-level rise

The office will be directly under the governor’s control.
Janine Romano, of Spring Hill, pushes a kayak into flood waters at Clover Leaf Farms RV Park in Brooksville. She had come to rescue her sister's pets, a cat and four dogs, from a mobile home at the far northeast end of the park, which saw significant flooding caused by Hurricane Irma.
Janine Romano, of Spring Hill, pushes a kayak into flood waters at Clover Leaf Farms RV Park in Brooksville. She had come to rescue her sister's pets, a cat and four dogs, from a mobile home at the far northeast end of the park, which saw significant flooding caused by Hurricane Irma.
Published May 4

Gov. Ron DeSantis late Tuesday signed into law a measure that will create a resiliency office directly under his watch to address the impacts of flooding and sea-level rise on the state.

The bill (HB 7053) was among 10 signed Tuesday by DeSantis after being approved during the legislative session that ended March 14.

Kate Wesner, Florida director of the American Flood Coalition, called the new Statewide Office of Resilience a “historic investment” that tackles “this challenge head-on.”

Related: Bill to create Florida resiliency office goes to DeSantis

During the legislative session, Democrats unsuccessfully pushed to include provisions addressing climate change that causes rising seas.

Days after he was sworn into office in January 2019, DeSantis used an executive order to create the Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection in the Department of Environmental Protection. Along with shifting the office to be more directly under DeSantis’ control, the new law will require a resilience action plan for the state highway system, a prioritized list of resilience projects that would include costs and timelines, and a database that would identify such things as medical centers, utilities, emergency operation centers and airports that would be threatened by rising sea levels.

Related: Flooding will get worse in Tampa Bay. Tropical Storm Eta showed how.

The measure also expands a 2021 law that directed the Department of Environmental Protection to develop an annual statewide flooding and sea-level rise resilience plan and to create the Resilient Florida Grant Program for cities and counties.

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