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Florida and other states reject millions in federal money to help prepare for future disasters: 'This money is money that Florida taxpayers have already paid'

The funding could have helped people in Florida who are already being impacted by extreme weather and rising temperatures.

The funding could have helped people in Florida who are already being impacted by extreme weather and rising temperatures.

Photo Credit: iStock

Five states passed up on millions of federal dollars that would have helped them better prepare for the consequences of a warming world, according to Inside Climate News.

What's happening?

Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, South Dakota, and Wyoming all declined to submit climate action plans that would have qualified them for money through the Inflation Reduction Act. Through the IRA's Climate Pollution Reduction Grants program, the government is offering billions of dollars that will enable states, municipalities, tribes, and territories to plan and carry out projects aimed at reducing planet-warming pollution.

Of the five states that passed on the funding, Florida is considered to be the most vulnerable to a changing climate, according to Inside Climate News. The state gave up $3 million in federal grant funding and as much as $500 million in future grants by declining to participate in the program.

The move by Florida and the other four states has left experts scratching their heads.

"This money is money that Florida taxpayers have already paid," said Brooke Alexander-Goss, organizing manager at the Sierra Club in Florida, per Inside Climate News. "It's federal government money that is going to be spent. It's already been allocated. So Florida along with the other states that declined this money are going to see their money go to another state."

Why is this news concerning?

The funding could have helped millions of Floridians who are already being impacted by extreme weather and rising temperatures.

Florida is especially vulnerable to a changing climate with hotter temperatures, rising seas, and more damaging storms on the horizon, according to Inside Climate News. For instance, Hurricane Idalia, which made landfall in late August 2023, brought catastrophic flooding to the state.

Meanwhile, Florida has been defiant about taking action against the drivers of an overheating planet. For instance, one current bill would delete the majority of references to rising global temperatures in state law, and the state is even trying to ban offshore wind turbines. Plus, the administration of Governor Ron DeSantis opted out of another federal funding program to reduce vehicle emissions in 2023. 

What's being done about rising global temperatures?

Florida residents aren't completely losing out on the federal funding. After the state opted out of the program, a portion of the $3 million was redistributed to the qualifying metropolitan area of North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton. Jacksonville, Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater also received the money.

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Plus, the state has invested $1.8 billion in climate resilience projects, such as helping homeowners fortify their homes, improving infrastructure, and fortifying sand dunes on beaches.

Meanwhile, other states are taking more meaningful action to reduce the overheating of our planet. For instance, New York is requiring all Lyfts and Ubers to be EVs by 2030. And New Jersey will ban the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035.

You can help slow rising global temperatures by voting for pro-climate candidates. You can also opt for more eco-friendly travel by biking more, taking public transit, and ensuring that your vehicle is running as efficiently as possible.

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