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Florida Leads The Way

In early December last year, Florida residents were able to finally see a rare event in politics, especially when it comes to the environment.

At the Southeast Florida Climate Leadership Summit (SFCLS), local government officials from four counties gathered to discuss how to mitigate and adapt to climate change and its impacts.

In this “purple” state, government officials came together in a bipartisan manner to address climate change.

Mayors, members of Congress, county commissioners and officials in charge of water issues in the state were at the Summit, and their political identifications and allegiances were across the board.

It makes sense Florida would be a state apt for bipartisan action on climate change, given the fact any rise in temperatures and/or sea levels will dramatically effect Florida specifically, as a result of the low elevations, i.e. sea level, of a large amount of the state. It is, however, still surprising and a rarity for bipartisan efforts in this political climate.

Unlike Congress, these officials aren’t debating the facts of climate change, but instead understand climate change does not discriminate across party lines. The impacts of climate change are a severe problem, thus action is required, or the consequences could be dire. Local officials from four counties, representing a combined population of 5.6 million people, established the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact (SFRCCC).  Which is designed to not only serve the people of the area, but also be used to inform policy-making and government funding at the state and federal levels. Perhaps the Compact and Summit can also inform state and federal governments to be bipartisan as well.

Additionally, the Obama administration has made an effort to curb the escalation of climate change as a result of fracking. Due to an overwhelming amount of public comment on the land-usage proposals, there has been a delay put on finalizing rules which expand the U.S. government’s oversight of natural gas drilling on public lands. The administration hopes U.S. states will eventually use the rules governing fracking on federal lands as a template for their own oversight. Despite the Obama administration supporting fracking as part of its “all-the-above” strategy, the delay is welcome news for environmental advocates.

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