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Florida State Legislators, Climate Action Leaders Slammed Trump for Ignoring Florida’s Climate Crisis in Proposed 2021 Budget

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In a news call Thursday morning, Florida state legislators and leaders of the Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida (DECF) excoriated Trump’s failure to address the climate crisis in Florida in his proposed 2021 budget -- or during his previous three years in office. Sen. José Javier Rodríguez of Miami, Rep. Anna V. Eskamani of Orlando, President of DECF Janelle Christensen, and Science Advisor to DECF John Capece urgently called for national climate action and spoke to their efforts to address the climate crisis in Florida.

From record-breaking heat waves to extreme hurricanes, Florida is already experiencing the devastating impacts of the climate crisis. Despite the clear and present threat this issue is posing to the Sunshine State, Trump did not use the word “climate” once in his 138-page budget proposal. Worse, he is supporting drastic cuts to the agencies responsible for addressing the climate crisis, including the radical plan to slash the EPA’s budget by 26%.

Below are highlights from the news call:

Sen. José Javier Rodríguez, Miami-Dade District 37

“This is the third legislative session in a row that I wear rain boots at the capitol to highlight the urgency of climate action. Climate is not an issue that is separate from our economy, from public health, from every other issue that we deal with.”

[...] “[Trump’s budget proposes] deep cuts to the Army Corps, which here in Florida has a direct impact on us -- they are the entity that helps us with flood control and many other things that are critical to dealing with the impacts of climate. This is not a budget that in any way reflects the reality that Floridians need.”

Rep. Anna V. Eskamani, House District 47

“Florida is ground zero for climate change. From rising sea levels to seeing the impacts of natural disasters to blue green algae, we know that Florida is at risk -- not just of environmental degradation but of economic disaster if we don’t take this crisis and these challenges seriously.

“We have the potential as a state to also be a leading voice in taking on climate change, but unfortunately President Trump has made it very clear --to not just us, but the entire country and world-- that he cannot be trusted when it comes to protecting our environment and taking on climate change.”

Dr. Janelle Christensen, PhD, MPH, President of the Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida:

“We are seeing many of our coastal cities already beginning to flood; we have an older population which is particularly vulnerable when there are heat waves; and even though President Trump lives on the coast of Florida, he seems to be banking on the fact that he will not be personally affected. We will be though. Not only do we need to think about our children, but our own grandparents who live here. If we have people we care about in Florida, we need to be demanding more aggressive climate action.”

Dr. John Capece, Agricultural Engineer and Hydrologist, Science Advisor of the Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida

“The climate impacts on Florida are wide ranging and the public in Florida is already very sensitive to the sea level rise impacts, understanding that over the long term, in the next 50 to 250 years, much of Florida will eventually return to the sea... In the short term in Florida, sea level rise, even in small amounts, will dramatically affect salt water intrusion into our coastal drinking water aquifers.”

[...] “You really can’t have a state-by-state approach to climate mitigation and carbon policy. It needs to be a national program supported by state initiatives to develop renewable energy and other transformations that need to occur within our communities.”

Trump’s 2021 Budget Slashes Funding for Programs, Agencies Addressing the Climate Crisis

  • Trump proposed cutting the EPA’s budget by a quarter and its workforce by 11% -- the lowest it’s been in 35 years
  • Trump’s proposed EPA cuts would reduce air and energy research programs that support future regulations by two-thirds; reduce funding for the Montreal Protocol (a global treaty tasked with phasing out hydrofluorocarbons, potent greenhouse gasses); and eliminate funding for EPA’s climate change partnership programs
  • Trump proposed a $1.7 billion cut to the Army Corps of Engineers, which E&E News reported would reduce the agency’s spending on flood control
  • Trump proposed cutting FEMA’s flood-mapping budget by more than 50% -- from $263 million to $100 million
  • Trump proposed eliminating funding for NASA’s Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory, a program that helps us better understand the climate crisis