Curbelo, Deutch Kick-Off First Meeting of Climate Solutions Caucus as Membership Grows
Yesterday, Co-Chairs of the Climate Solutions Caucus, Representatives Carlos Curbelo (FL-22) and Ted Deutch (FL-22), led the first public meeting of the Caucus. The meeting focus on the “Climate Impact on Coastal Communities”, included panelists that discussed the impact rising sea-levels will have on flood insurance, infrastructure projects to mitigate and adapt to the threat, and ocean acidification.
Panelists included: Senior Policy Representative for the National Association of REALTORS Austin Perez, Monroe County Commissioner Heather Carruthers, coastal risk management consultant for Brizaga, Inc. Alec Bogdanoff, Ph.D., and Oregon State University Associate Professor of Ocean Ecology and Bio-geochemistry Dr. George Waldbusser.
The mission of the Climate Solutions Caucus is to educate members on economically-viable options to reduce climate risk and to explore bipartisan policy options that address the impacts, causes, and challenges of our changing climate. As determined by the co-chairs, the Caucus membership will consist of equal representation by Democrats and Republicans. Currently, 40 Members of Congress – 20 Democrats and 20 Republicans – serve on the Caucus, including recently added Representatives Claudia Tenney (NY-22) and Mike Thompson (CA-5).
A transcript of Curbelo’s opening remarks from the meeting can be found below and a video of the Facebook Live Stream from the meeting is available here.
Representative Curbelo: “Thank you very much Congressman Deutch. Thank you all for being here, this is very exciting. We’re a rather informal caucus, but it looks like we are formalizing a little bit here, which is probably good news. I don’t know if I should say this or not because I don’t know if we’ve made the news yet, but as of today we will have forty members in this caucus – 20 Republicans, 20 Democrats. I would have never thought that we would have grow in this much in such a short time. So I am grateful to Ted for this partnership and to all of our colleagues here today for taking a step forward and agreeing to be a part of the solution in addressing this issue.
“As Ted said, in South Florida, sunny-day-flooding is, unfortunately, the new normal. We remain at-risk for more severe flooding events, adversely affecting our coastline, our economy, and most importantly our population.
“I tend to remind people that I represent a district where most people live at sea-level and near the sea; so obviously, this is a major concern for us. According to projections by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, sea-level in Miami-Dade County is expected to rise about 15-inches, above current levels by 2045. A 1-foot increase in sea level is estimated to threaten $6.4 billion in taxable real estate in the country. In Monroe, which Commissioner Carruthers is from, 1-foot threatens $4 billion in taxable real estate. Mitigating for this growing threat requires adaption strategies starting with revisions and updates to building and land development codes, adaption of existing infrastructure, and water diversion removal and storage infrastructure projects.
“Yesterday I introduced the Flood Protection Act with my colleague Representative Seth Moulton of Massachusetts. This bipartisan legislation will help our local communities build and adapt their coastal infrastructure to help manage against this serious threat. Mitigation planning is the foundation for saving lives, protecting residential and commercial properties, helping to keep flood insurance rates manageable, and developing disaster resistant communities. Prudent risk management is critical for long-term survival of our coastal communities.”