Senate panel to discuss role of officer tackling rising sea levels

Senators next week will discuss the role of the state Chief Resilience Officer (CRO), a position that has effectively been merged into the job description of the state’s top environmental officer.

When the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee meets Monday to lay out environmental matters ahead of the coming Legislative Session, it will have been more than 10 months since former CRO Julia Nesheiwat left Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration. Nesheiwat was the state’s first CRO, but she departed less than six months after her appointment when President Donald Trump tapped her to be his next Homeland Security Adviser.

Since March, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Noah Valenstein has taken on the CRO’s duties, which includes preparing Florida for the environmental, physical and economic impacts of sea-level rise.

At the time, the Governor’s Office remained open to structural changes regarding the position DeSantis had created only months prior, and DeSantis’ then-spokeswoman Helen Aguirre Ferré stressed that no decision had been made regarding a permanent CRO appointment. Valenstein is still splitting his duties in both roles.

Sen. Jason Brodeur, a Sanford Republican who chairs the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee, said Monday’s meeting will be largely to “get a grounding”

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