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In Letter To DeSantis, Jax Advocates Praise ‘Resilient Florida,’ Call For Emissions Cuts

Jacksonville Beach flooding is pictured on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016 after Hurricane Matthew passed through.
Charlie Riedel
Associated Press
Jacksonville Beach flooding is pictured on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016 after Hurricane Matthew passed through.

In a letter this month, the local climate advocacy organization Resilient Jax praised Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for supporting the funding of projects to address sea level rise and urged him to start addressing the fossil fuel emissions that are driving climate change.

In January, Gov. DeSantis announced he was establishing the Resilient Florida program to make $1 billion in grants available to help local governments deal with more frequent flooding, intensifying storms and sea level rise.

In her letter to the governor, Shannon Blankinship, chair of Resilient Jax, praised that move.

“After years of our state government ignoring the climate crisis, your plan is a welcome step forward for the state. We are relieved that the years of brushing aside the threats of a changing climate are over in Tallahassee,” she wrote.

Related: On Climate Change, DeSantis Focuses On Infrastructure While Ignoring Heat-Causing Emissions

But, she went on, the governor’s plan “is a small beginning given the scope of the crisis.”

“When you consider the breadth of development along Florida’s coastline, the state’s flat terrain, the threat of ever-stronger hurricanes and projections for sea level rise to the year 2100 and beyond, Florida is truly a climate disaster in waiting — unless we prepare now,” the letter reads.

To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, Blankinship urged the governor to find ways to eliminate carbon emissions from “fossil fuel burning and agriculture.”

The Florida Legislature has already signed off on a pair of bills this year that would see the state spend tens of millions a dollars annually to fight the effects of rising sea levels.

But lawmakers are also considering several measures that would make it harder for local governments to reduce fossil fuel emissions.

Brendan Rivers can be reached at, 904-358-6396 or on Twitter at @BrendanRivers.

Special Projects Producer Brendan Rivers joined WJCT News in August of 2018 after several years as a reporter and then News Director at Southern Stone Communications, which owns and operates several radio stations in the Daytona Beach area.