Noah Valenstein touts importance of climate change role he’s held on interim basis for 10 months

Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein told senators Monday the Chief Resilience Officer position “shows how important this issue is” for Florida. Valenstein has been the state’s interim CRO since March.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has touted his administration’s environmental advancements, which includes hiring the state’s first CRO, tasked with preparing Florida for the environmental, physical and economic impacts of sea-level rise. But his 2019 appointee, Julia Nesheiwat, departed less than six months later to become President Donald Trump‘s Homeland Security Adviser.

Valenstein says he can effectively juggle being DEP Secretary and CRO because his department already has a resiliency team that would tackle the topic of climate change regardless.

“I’m focused on us making a difference as quickly as possible, and I think we’re able to do that and are moving the ball forward right now, and that’s what I focus on every day,” Valenstein told Florida Politics. “Time is a luxury we can’t afford too much of right now.”

However, lawmakers and activists are eager for an independent resiliency chief to take the reins of the climate change effort.

Estero Republican Sen. Ray Rodrigues filed a proposal Friday (SB 514) to establish an Office

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