South Florida City Council votes to secede over climate change concerns

By Jessica Huseman
@JessicaHuseman
Oct. 26, 2014

Under the resolution, all the counties in orange would split to create a new state called "South Florida." US Geological Survey/ Douglas Main.

Under the resolution, all the counties in orange would split to create a new state called “South Florida.” US Geological Survey/Douglas Main.

It looks like even Florida is sick of Florida.

In the second piece of absurd Florida news in as many weeks, the city of South Miami has passed a resolution to secede from the state because the state government and Gov. Rick “I’m Not A Scientist” Scott flat out refuse to deal with climate change.

The City Commission voted 3-2 in favor of the measure, which calls for making the state’s 24 southernmost counties a separate state called South Florida. The resolution was put forward by Vice Mayor Walter Harris, who cited “environmental concerns and claims that Tallahassee is unresponsive to the threat of climate change and proper environmental stewardship of the Everglades.”

Here’s the resolution in full, but below are some more crucial bits:

  • “South Florida’s situation is very precarious and in need of immediate attention. Many of the issues facing South Florida are not political, but are now very significant safety issues.”
  • “Often South Florida issues do not receive the support of Tallahassee. This is despite the fact that South Florida generates more than 69 percent of the state’s revenue and contains 67 percent of the state’s population.”
  • “North Florida is approximately 120 feet above sea level while the average elevation of South Florida is less than 50 feet with a very large portion of South Florida averaging less than 15 feet above sea level.”
  • “The creation of the 51st state, South Florida, is a necessity for the very survival of the entire southern region of the current state of Florida.”

The resolution isn’t overstating things. It turns out that Miami — South Florida’s most notable city and biggest economic powerhouse — will almost certainly be one of the first American cities to pull an Atlantis and sink into the ocean (see here and here). A growing number of insurance companies are already leaving the market entirely, citing how risky it is to insure property in the area.

“It’s very apparent that the attitude of the northern part of the state is that they would just love to saw the state in half and just let us float off into the Caribbean,” South Miami Mayor Phillip Stoddard told The Orlando Sentinel. “They’ve made that abundantly clear every possible opportunity and I would love to give them the opportunity to do that.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott. MrX/Wikipedia Commons

Florida Gov. Rick Scott. MrX/Wikipedia Commons

Despite a letter from 42 scientists and being constantly lambasted for his refusal to admit climate change is a thing, Rick Scott is still doing basically nothing to solve the problem.

In 2010, when Scott first ran for governor, he pledged to slash funding for environmental spending and get rid of environmental regulations he said were slowing the state’s economy. When he was elected, he made good on many of those promises. Now that he’s in a tight race against former Gov. Charlie Crist, he’s rolled that language back, announcing he’d offer some more funding  in the form of $500 million to springs restoration and $500 million to create alternative water supplies.

“Florida’s natural beauty is a big reason why this is the best state in the country to call home,” Scott said in a statement about the funding. “Our natural resources are the foundation of our economy — they drive tourism, housing, business, and agriculture — and they deserve our long-term commitment.”

Crist has been calling Scott out for his failures over the environment since the start of the campaign, and billionaire climate-change activist Tom Steyer is spending big bucks to keep Scott out of office. Polls currently have Crist and Scott in a virtual tie, but South Miami’s vote is just another mark against Scott’s failure to address (or even discuss) a problem central to the well-being of half his state.

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Posted by on October 26, 2014. Filed under Environment,National Politics,Recent News,Social Justice,Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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