Posted by: ericgrimsrud | August 10, 2016

State-aided deception continues in Florida

While sea levels continue to rise, a building boom proceeds in several cities of South Florida.   As an example, see the article entitled “Rising Seas in Fort Lauderdale, Florida’s Building Boomtown, Toward a Bust” by Katherine Bagley at

The construction of seaside homes and condos is at an all-time high in that city, which has already been negatively impacted by the eight inches of sea level rise over the last century. Scientists expect future sea level rises to be much greater – up to about two feet by mid-century and up to about six feet by 2100.  If so, sea level rise will render countless homes and condos in South Florida uninhabitable within a single cycle of a typical home mortgage.

And in South Florida, there is little the residents can do to protect their homes against rising water levels. Due to the porous nature of the limestone bed on which it sits, invasive water cannot be held back by the type of dikes that can protect other coastal regions of the world.  Water simply passes under such barriers in South Florida.

Another unfortunate fact facing the residents of South Florida’s coastal cities is that their state government is controlled by Republicans who prefer to deny the occurrence of climate change and provide no help whatsoever to coastal residents. Florida Governor Rick Scott, for example, has eliminated all of his state’s climate change programs and has banned government employees from using climate-related terms in official business. Both of Florida’s nationally prominent Republicans, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, deny that the climate is changing because of human activity.  Thus, little notice of South Florida’s huge coastal problem occurs in Florida’s state capitol and Florida realtors have no obligation to share sea level information with potential customers.  Look, for example, at the listings of for properties in the coaster cities of South Florida. They say nothing about the future risks of flooding , the increasing cost of flood insurance, and associated declines in home values.

In the article referred to above, a quote from a University of Miami scientist summed up what’s happening in South Florida: “we are building like crazy, like there is no tomorrow – which is true, unfortunately. The plan is to build these homes and sell them to Iowa pig farmers who have worked all their lives to live here, and to get a nice investment for their grandchildren.  They are being hoodwinked.”  It does not surprise me that this honest assessment of the “business plan” of South Florida came from one of Florida’s private universities that is not obliged to comply with the gag rules of its state’s government.



  1. That’s too bad. But honestly? If you are dumb enough to buy on a low coastal area, then you get what you deserve. Questions of climate change adoption won’t be answered by government. These are societal issues. Everyone has access to the information. If they cannot make the correct decision it is not for anyone to correct them. It’s their life and their choice.

    Just saying.

    • Steven,

      I partially agree with your take on this. But, on the other hand, one of the most important functions of government in the USA since the “Gilded Age” after about 1900 has been to protect its population, including those of lesser education, wealth, and social position, against the ravages that surely would be taken upon them by the financial predators among us. Thus, the question of should the government continue to take on this burden continues to be a good one.

      One’s answer to that question depends on one’s view of our country..Is the United States of America an actual “community” that tries to take care of all of its members or is it primarily just a place were wealth can be legally and fairly achieved via hard work and intelligence?

      Concerning the example raised in my post, I believe that even the pig farmers in Iowa who happen to be staunch Republicans do not deserve to be swindled by the Republican officials in control of Florida.

      Another point worth considering: when thousands are flooded out of their homes at some future date, we can be sure that even those Republicans in Florida’s state capitol will be crying out for Federal FEMA support for their “natural” disaster. After all, even Governor Scott will require compensation for the loss of his mansion in Naples. Thus, all Americans already have skin in this “game” and should encourage Floridians to get real.

  2. Thanks again Eric, Hope all is well; you are doing a great service. Yes the Republicans want to win so badly that they are willing to mislead the country. I do hope we have debates between Hillary and Trump. The man is unbelievable. We are almost thru with harvest. It was very good but the prices have tanked but we must be thankful for what we got. We hope all is well with you and Kathy.

  3. What is the effect of these building practices on the insurance rates of the population that doesn’t live in these currently desirable locations (Most of the rest of the U.S.A.)?

    [Response by EPG: I don’t know the answer to your question. Are there any insurance experts out there that might provide and answer for us? Eric]

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