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Florida

DeSantis Signs Sea Level Rise Bill Into Law

 State House Speaker Chris Sprowls, left, and Senate President Wilton Simpson, right, flank Gov. Ron DeSantis
State House Speaker Chris Sprowls, left, and Senate President Wilton Simpson, right, flank Gov. Ron DeSantis

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Wednesday that is aimed at dealing with the impacts of sea level rise.

The governor chose a waterfront restaurant in Tarpon Springs for the bill signing. It gives tax breaks to homeowners who elevate their homes because of flooding. And it gives $100 million in grants to help local governments plan to combat rising seas.

"Today, we probably take the most significant steps that have been taken in Florida in quite some time," DeSantis said.

It establishes multi-year plans to tackle statewide flooding and coastal resilience.

"This is a really significant amount of resources," he said. "We're really putting our money where our mouth is when it comes to protecting the state of Florida and particularly our coastal communities on the risk of flooding, on storms."

The bill was the creation of state House Speaker Chris Sprowls of Palm Harbor, who attended the bill signing. He said this is the most aggressive legislation ever filed in Florida to address sea level rise and rising insurance rates.

Sprowls has said instead of focusing on the root cause of climate change, this is something the state can do now.

Sprowls has brushed aside environmentalists’ criticism that state leaders are focusing on the expensive consequences of climate change rather than taking action that can address causes, such as strictly regulating fossil fuel emissions that contribute to warming.

“There is no question of if it will happen — if we will have significant flooding in our state," Sprowls said. "The question is only when.”

The new law creates the Florida Flood Hub for Applied Research and Innovation. It will be established at the University of South Florida College of Marine Science in St. Petersburg.

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 Gov. DeSantis signs the bill
The Florida Channel /
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Gov. DeSantis signs the bill