Florida state Sen. Debbie Mayfield, R-Rockledge Mark Wallheiser / AP

FL - Florida House moves landmark environmental legislation to DeSantis’ desk

(The Center Square) – The Florida House on Wednesday unanimously approved the Clean Waterways Act and a bill requiring sea-level studies for public projects, adopting landmark environmental legislation Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to sign into law.

Senate Bill 712, the 111-page Clean Waterways Act sponsored by Sen. Debbie Mayfield, R-Rockledge, was approved by the House, 118-0, after moving through the Senate on Friday, 39-0.

Senate Bill 178, sponsored by Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez, D-Miami, was endorsed by the House, 115-0, after securing a 38-0 Senate approval Monday.

SB 178 requires municipalities and state agencies to submit 50-year sea level impact projection (SLIP) studies to the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) before using tax revenues to build structures on beaches or in tropical storm flood zones.

The bill acknowledges that communities along Florida’s 1,350-mile, low-lying coastline are increasingly experiencing tidal flooding because of sea-level rise fostered by climate change. The state estimates $300 billion in taxable property could be underwater by 2100.

The bipartisan bill was spearheaded by South Florida lawmakers, where tides routinely flood coastal streets, and is endorsed by environmental groups, builders and business organizations.

Rep. Vance Aloupis Jr., R-Miami, who substituted SB 178 in place of his companion measure, House Bill 579, said the bill demonstrates Florida no longer denies climate change and is taking common sense precautions.

Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, praised the measure, dubbed the Rodriguez-Aloupis bill.

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