Welcome to the Republic of Awesome, South Florida

The ROA did not expect to widen its borders so fast.

In an October 7th City of South Miami Commission meeting, vice-mayor Walter Harris proposed a resolution to split south Florida off to form a 51st state. It passed 3-2. Mayor Phillip Stoddard backed Harris’s move as reported in the Sun Sentinel:

“It’s very apparent that the attitude of the northern part of the state is that they would just love to saw the state in half and just let us float off into the Caribbean,” Stoddard said. “They’ve made that abundantly clear every possible opportunity and I would love to give them the opportunity to do that.”

There’s a big different here from the spate of recent secession efforts. The bulk of those are frustrated rural conservatives overreacting to slow-motion whiplash from incremental social change.

South Miami’s actions are about survival — survival from rising sea levels due to climate change.

And they’re pissed about inaction from their elected leaders to address the looming threat in any meaningful way.

From USA Today:

The resolution points out that the average elevation of North Florida is about 120-feet above sea level while the average elevation of South Florida is less than 50 feet. It is estimated that there will be a 3- to 6-foot sea level rise in the next 100 years, according to the resolution.

And Think Progress on their chances and the political implications.

The resolution — like all other secession attempts in the U.S., apart from the one in 1775 — isn’t likely to make it very far. In order for Florida to actually split into two states, the resolution would have to be approved by Florida’s state legislature and by the U.S. Congress. But the three South Miami councilmembers who voted the resolution into being still think the subject of sea level rise is serious enough to make the secession statement.


Image courtesy of Think Progress/Wikipedia

About the author

For over fifteen years I’ve investigated and written about America’s worst polluters from the gas fields of North Dakota to the “Dead Zone” in the Gulf of Mexico. I’ve been a Senior Advisor for the Environmental Working Group and a Senior Manager at the Environmental Defense Fund. As a freelance journalist, I’ve written for Politico, the Washington DC City Paper, the Huffington Post, Grist, Civil Eats and the Food and Environment Reporting Network.

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