November 15, 2021
ORLANDO, Fla. - Advocates are calling on
Florida's leaders to keep the momentum going after the U.N. Climate Change
Summit by thinking of ways to Build Back Better in the Sunshine State.
As Congress debates President Joe Biden's Build Back Better plan, which supporters say would benefit millions of Floridians with investments in children, health care and education, claim it also will advance the bipartisan infrastructure deal with more investments to reduce climate-change impacts.
Maria Revelles is the state director of Florida CHISPA, a group that works on building the power of communities of color to protect the environment. She said those communities are on the front lines.
"In the Black and Latino communities in this country," said Revelles, "I think Build Back Better is important and there has to be a sense of urgency of educating, activating and organizing our elected officials to make sure that it happens."
The White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed confidence the bill with pass the House this week. If it does, it is expected to face changes in the evenly split 50-50 Senate with Republican opposition and resistance from moderate Democrats.
Revelles said state leaders should be making sure coastal communities they are writing policies for will still exist for them to implement. She said she thinks they should move forward with Build Back Better.
"It is predicted that everything that is three feet to the level of the sea will be down under in the next 30 years," said Revelles. "That means for us Floridians that we are going to lose the Keys, we're going to lose Miami, we're going to lose all the cities in the coast of Tampa Bay."
According to the White House, the Build Back Better framework will set the United States on course to meet its climate targets - a 50% to 52% reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2030 - in a way that creates good-paying union jobs, grows domestic industries, and advances environmental justice.
The plan also reduces housing costs and helps the nearly one in four Florida tenants not caught up on rent by increasing the number of affordable rental units.
It provided four weeks of paid family and medical leave, benefiting fully 79% of Florida's workers, as well as adding protections to immigrant Floridians.