Local politicians and environmental workers say they are concerned about the impact of the Trump administration on Florida’s delicate ecosystem.
Jim Murley, the chief resilience officer for Miami Dade County, said he is particularly concerned about King Tide events, which are expected to increase due to global warming.
“These impacts must be addressed because they affect our economy, our mobility and our quality of life now and in the future,” he said.
Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who has been a supporter of legislation to restore coral reefs and combat local climate change, said that sea level rise, and its local impact, are no longer up for debate.
“While there may be some substantial differences of opinion, some facts are simply incontrovertible – sea levels around South Florida have risen significantly over the past century,” she said.
President-elect Donald Trump has publically stated that he will encourage the production of domestic fossil fuel and open up leases on federal lands and waters, a stance that concerns local watchers.
Ros-Lehtinen, in particular, opposes any efforts to conduct oil-shore drilling.
“While we are just beginning to understand how vulnerable our community may be to the significant impacts of climate change, it is all too well known that offshore oil drilling poses an intolerable threat to the beautiful, natural ecosystems that define our community and buttress our economy,” she said.
She added that the best approach to educating her colleagues and federal officials on the threats to South Florida’s natural resources is having discussions with one person at a time.
“No matter who heads the EPA, other federal departments or agencies, or the relevant House or Senate committees, I will continue my efforts to protect South Florida’s environment by engaging on the facts and building broad support for sustainable and impactful solutions,” she said.
For his part, Murley said he will work to reduce fossil fuel emissions because it makes good business sense.
“Regardless of the actions taken locally and/or world-wide, we will still experience impacts from climate change and sea level rise,” he said. “It is important that we continue to both reduce and avoid greenhouse gas emissions, and begin to adapt and build resilience to current and future impacts.”
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