Forget that one of Florida's two U.S. senators is running for president and hardly making climate change a priority.
A countywide elected official in Miami-Dade County is asking Republican Marco Rubio and every other South Florida member of Congress -- plus Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson -- to put federal money into the region's efforts to adapt to global warming.
Clerk of Courts Harvey Ruvin wrote a letter last week to Nelson, Rubio and House members from Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties urging the creating of a "Federal Resiliency Superfund" to back "adaptive solutions for the non-debatable, potentially devastating eventuality of Sea Level Rise."
Ruvin, a Democrat in a nonpartisan post and perhaps the longest-serving local politician (he began his political career in 1968 and has been clerk since 1992), led the county's sea-level rise task force. The group produced a report full of recommendations -- including the establishment of an expensive capital plan.
"Our Mayor, Carlos Gimenez, has begun the effort by assembling an impressive team to tackle this trailblazing effort," Ruvin wrote to members of Congress. "A multi-level, intergovernmental funding partnership could ensure success: The need and the opportunity is now.
"I believe that your leadership and positive response will one day be a badge of honor that you and others will look back upon with pride and extraordinary accomplishment."
Read the full text of Ruvin's letter below:
Dear, (Individual Letters sent Senators Rubio and Nelson as well as all Members of the U.S. House of Representative from Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe Counties.
RE: Establishment of a Resiliency Superfund (RS)
I am seeking your sponsorship/support/help in establishing a Federal Resiliency Superfund (RS) in order to partner with local governments that are in the forefront of developing adaptive solutions for the non-debatable, potentially devastating eventuality of Sea Level Rise.
Providing financial assistance, with an appropriate matching formula from State and local funding sources, would be a huge value-added INVESTMENT. It would:
a. Accelerate the development of adaptive success models, which could be employed “off the shelve” to scores of similarly situated localities elsewhere.
b. Spur a much needed redesign of deteriorating Urban and Rural Infrastructures across the nation, already in desperate need of updated re-engineering, notwithstanding Sea Level Rise.
c. Provide an infusive “Jobs Program” that would substantially enhance our economy at all levels.
d. Provide a far reaching damage prevention initiative helping to reduce the ultimate financial pressure on FEMA, and after the fact, damage compensation fund.
The State of Florida, with some 1350 miles of coastline (most in the nation), should be in the lead in developing innovative strategies in order to be resilient to the relentless reality of Sea Level Rise as it unfolds in the coming decades.
In Southeast Florida, identified by both the United Nations and the U.S. Climate Assessment as “ground zero” for SLR; Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe counties have already begun to collaborate on the issue.
The Miami-Dade Commission recently unanimously approved the Recommendation of its Task Force http://www.miamidade.gov/planning/library/reports/sea-level-rise-final-report.pdf, calling for an accelerated, comprehensive planning effort in order to produce a robust multi-faceted capital plan to be implemented and sequenced so as to enable our water, sewage drainage, transportation and other essential infrastructure elements to be resilient in the face of 2-3 feet of Sea Level Rise by 2060.
Our Mayor, Carlos Gimenez, has begun the effort by assembling an impressive team to tackle this trailblazing effort.
A multi-level, intergovernmental funding partnership could ensure success: The need and the opportunity is now.
I believe that your leadership and positive response will one day be a badge of honor that you and others will look back upon with pride and extraordinary accomplishment.
I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.
Harvey Ruvin, Clerk of Courts