DeSantis Under Fire As Florida Left Underwater

Florida residents are struggling this hurricane season, and many are pointing the finger at a certain Governor.

A Once-in-a-Lifetime Weather Disaster

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Florida has just seen a once-in-a-lifetime weather disaster that’s left entire neighborhoods underwater. After being hit by a monster downpour last month – with over 20 inches of rain falling within a week – streets in Hollywood, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale turned into rivers, causing Governor Ron DeSantis to declare a state of emergency.

DeSantis’s Controversial Climate Stance

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But instead of just dealing with the flooding, DeSantis used the opportunity to defend his latest controversial move: scrapping Florida’s climate change goals. “We don’t want our energy policy driven by climate ideology,” DeSantis said while on a tour of the flood zones.

When It Rains, It Pours

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Imagine getting a month’s worth of rain in one night. That’s exactly what happened in parts of Florida. Cars in Miami were abandoned in flooded streets, and Tampa Bay saw a massive eight inches of rain in just three hours – something that’s only predicted to happen once every 500 to 1000 years. 

Residents At Risk

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120 flights out of the Sunshine State were delayed or outright canceled due to extreme winds, and many residents have had to leave their homes.

DeSantis Doubles Down

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In the middle of this chaos, DeSantis began doubling down on his climate stance. Last month, he signed a bill that erased language mentioning “climate change” from state law and axed a 16-year-old policy that prioritized climate change in energy policy decisions.

“Don’t Say Climate Change” 

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Critics are calling it the “Don’t Say Climate Change” law, a nod to the equally controversial “Don’t Say Gay” law from 2022.

DeSantis’s Defense

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But DeSantis insisted it’s not about denying climate change and tried to distance the effects of the floods from the impact of his policies. “It was a substantive piece of legislation to say that in the state of Florida our energy policy is going to be driven by affordability for Floridians and reliability,” he said.

DeSantis Hits Back at Critics

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DeSantis took offense to people trying to link the state’s new energy policies to the floods, calling their critique “very political.” He went on to explain that focusing on climate change leads to higher costs and less reliable energy and pointed fingers at states like California as examples of what not to do.

Fossil Fuels Forever? 

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The new laws also ban offshore wind farms, make it harder for lawmakers to put bans on gas appliances, and ease up permit restrictions for natural gas pipelines.

Hurricane Season Looms

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And if the floods weren’t bad enough, experts are predicting an incredibly busy hurricane season this year. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says there’s an 85% chance that the Atlantic hurricane season will be above average, with up to 25 named storms, including 13 hurricanes.

Public Outcry

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The timing and substance of DeSantis policies has not gone down well. Many people are not happy, and environmentalists and Democrats have argued that these changes are a step backward, especially after Florida has just seen its hottest year on record since 1895.

Is This Just the Beginning?

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Environmentalists are worried that Desantis’ climate policies will make the issue worse and could make events like last month’s historic levels of rainfall a more regular and severe occurrence.

Follow the Money

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Critics say DeSantis’s policies are all about pleasing big utilities and the natural gas industry, not protecting the environment.

Florida’s Climate History

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Florida’s climate policy has seen many ups and downs. The state took a hard stance against climate change under Governor Charlie Crist, but things took a turn after Rick Scott’s administration rolled back many of these efforts.

DeSantis’s Energy Push

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Now, DeSantis seems to be continuing that trend. He’s been promoting tax breaks for gas stoves and blocking restrictions on natural gas. Many are worried that these are all part of a bigger initiative to push the state away from renewable energy.

A Bad Move?

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The flooding and DeSantis’ comments came in the same week that the governor vetoed more than half of the $410 million set aside for local water projects – including 22 stormwater drainage projects.

“Floridians Pay the Price”

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House Democratic leader Rep. Fentrice Driskell slammed the move, saying, “Governor, as you erase climate change from our laws and veto infrastructure plans, Floridians pay the price.”

Stuck in the Rain

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State Senator Jason Pizzo also attacked DeSantis’s cuts, stating, “As I’m sitting here stuck on a Brightline train because of flooding in my district, all those storm water projects he cut look pretty stupid right now.”

Rising Seas, Sinking Land

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Florida is one of the states most at risk from sea-level rise and extreme weather and faces a shaky future. Sea levels are expected to rise by up to a foot in the next 30 years, putting millions of residents at risk.

The Storm’s Not Over

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Florida is still in the middle of hurricane season, and floods and heavy rain are ongoing.

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The post DeSantis Under Fire As Florida Left Underwater first appeared on EcoHugo.

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