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Rising Seas Threaten Florida, Little Action From Scott and Legislature

June 22nd, 2018 by Jake Stofan
One out of 10 Florida homes could be subject to almost daily flooding by the end of the century according to a new report by The Union of Concerned Scientists.
The culprit… rising sea levels resulting from climate change.
The report suggests Florida stand to be affected more than any other state.
Predictions by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show up to 6 1/2 feet of sea level rise by 2100.
An increase of that magnitude would cost billions of dollars to the state and local governments in lost property values.
“If tax values, property tax evaluations are going down and tax input to these cities and counties is shrinking, it’s going to be very difficult for them to cope,” said Dr. Jeff Chanton, a professor of Oceanography at Florida State University.
Environmental groups say the new predictions should sound a major alarm.
“This report is a serious wake up call in a series of wake up calls. Unfortunately our leaders have been pushing the snooze button for too long,” said Jonathan Webber with Florida Conservation Voters.
Scientists say not only have lawmakers been hitting the snooze button, but many including Governor Rick Scott have been slow to even accept there’s a problem.
“The state government until quite recently, climate change was a dirty word and not to be mentioned,” said Chanton.
A recent review of the Governor’s most recent financial disclosures showed one-sixth (about $20 million) of Scott’s 2014 net worth of more than $132 million was tied up in companies who have said climate change Legislation stood to hurt their businesses.
But most of Scott’s wealth is hidden away from the public in blind trusts.
“We have no idea the full extent of his investment in opposing climate change,” said Attorney Don Hinkle, who is suing Scott in an effort to gain access to the details of his blind trust.
Scott has to file a new financial disclosure next month as part of his bid for the U.S. Senate.
It may be the most clear look the public has gotten of Scott’s investments.
Scientists also fear if the Governor’s constitutional amendment to require a supermajority in the Legislature to approve new tax hikes passes this November, it could further stifle proactive measures to combat rising seas.
In response to this story the Governor’s Office made a point of noting this past session Scott secured $3.6 million for a new Florida Resilient Coastline Initiative within the Department of Environmental Protection, which will assist local governments with sea level rise planning and coastal resilience projects, in addition to protection of coral reef health.

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