Two Republicans from Florida--U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney and U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz--are championing a resolution “expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that sea level rise and flooding are of urgent concern impacting Florida that require proactive measures for community planning and the states tourism-based economy to adapt.”
Rooney introduced the resolution at the end of last week with Gaetz as the only cosponsor.
“Sea-level rise, storm surge and flooding currently threaten millions of homes across the state of Florida. I introduced this resolution to express my grave concern about the dangers associated with rising seas, and to stress the need to proactively prepare for future effects, such as increased risks of flooding from stronger hurricanes,” Rooney said on Friday.
“Without preventive actions taken now, we risk the future livelihoods of our beautiful Florida communities,” Rooney added. “That’s why I’m calling for greater funding and the incorporation of sea-level rise projections to better plan for such events.”
The resolution was sent to the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee which sent it over to its Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment on Friday.
After then U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., was defeated in November, Rooney took over as the Republican co-chair of the Climate Solutions Caucus.
“I joined the Climate Solutions Caucus because environmental issues are critical for our Southwest Florida community,” Rooney said when he joined it at the end of September. “Southwest Florida’s well-being depends on a healthy environment; one just needs to look at the algal blooms currently ravaging our community to understand the negative effects of environmental disasters. To safeguard our future, proactive planning is necessary to mitigate effects of rising sea levels and increased intensity of flooding. I look forward to working with a bipartisan group of my colleagues on solving the problems of sea-level rise.”
Gaetz is also a member of the Climate Solutions Caucus, having joined it towards the end of 2017. U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., founded the caucus with Curbelo. Rooney is a member on the Congressional Ocean and Estuary Caucuses and the American Flood Coalition.
The Southwest Florida Republican has drawn fire from the right, including from Americans for Tax Reform, for backing Deutch’s proposal for a carbon tax.