DeSantis appoints water board members, but no environmentalists
…the Governor takes his time because he is committed to selecting the most qualified individuals to serve on our state’s important boards. He reviews applications until he is comfortable making these significant appointments.”
This statement from the governor’s office is just way too ludicrous to swallow.
We do not need more farmers, ranchers, developers, businessmen on water boards, we need at least one environmentalist on each board. DeSantis ignored nominations for Dr. Robert Knight (OSFR advisor) and Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson (OSFR board member, co-founder and ex-president.) His office did not acknowledge these nominations.
The governor’s failure to provide a balanced water board for each district leaves no doubt that he has no interest, no understanding, and no appreciati0n in preserving one his state’s greatest assets– its world-famous springs and rivers.
Florida’s main industry –tourism– has already lost billions due to the pollution and over-pumping of the aquifer allowed by the State.
Read the complete article here at the Gainesville Sun; the newspaper does not provide a direct link to this article.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
– A river is like a life: once taken,
it cannot be brought back © Jim Tatum
DeSantis appoints water board members
By Cindy Swirko
Gainesville Sun USA TODAY NETWORK
Thursday September 10, 2020
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has appointed some members to the governing boards of the Suwannee River and St. Johns River water management districts, but vacancies still remain on both.
Seats have been empty on both boards for at least a year, and on several occasions DeSantis filled them only when the panels needed a fifth member for a quorum to take votes.
That was the case with the recent appointments.
State Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, was picked for the SJRWMD. Messages to Bradley were not returned Wednesday.
Also appointed was Janet Price, of Fernandina Beach. She previously served on the board from June 2017 to May 2019, when she was cut by DeSantis.
Alachua County is split between the two districts. Generally, the eastern half is in St. Johns. The Suwannee district has land along the Santa Fe River and the western part of the county.
The St. Johns board was down to three members after the departure of Douglas Bournique, of Vero Beach, on Aug. 27.
Bournique served a four-year term that ended in March. He was given a 180-day holdover term that ended last month.
It at least has a quorum but is still four members short of the nine it should have.
The Suwannee River district will also now have a quorum with the appointment of Harry Smith, vice president of Central State Enterprises, an animal feed business in Lake City….
Many of the appointments that DeSantis made or members he retained are from industries such as farming, forestry, development and real estate.
All are white and most are men.
Robert Knight, executive director of the Florida Springs Institute headquartered in High Springs, applied for the Suwannee River board and said he has heard nothing from the governor’s office.
Knight said the recent appointments continue a trend of bypassing candidates with environmental expertise or advocacy for the boards.
“It’s clear to me (DeSantis) is being advised by people who are giving him advice that is helpful to the moneyed interests of Florida rather than the public,” Knight said. “I don’t know if the governor shares this —but he’s acting like he does — that they have this idea in Tallahassee that they can just do anything they want that isn’t in the public interest as long as it’s in the interest of for-profit corporations.”
Knight said DeSantis may be having trouble finding people he described as “sleaze bags” to fill the vacancies.
That drew a response from Cody McCloud, DeSantis’ press secretary.
“Mr. Knight’s ridiculous comment is not worthy of a response from our office,” McCloud said in an email. “As for the vacancies, the Governor takes his time because he is committed to selecting the most qualified individuals to serve on our state’s important boards. He reviews applications until he is comfortable making these significant appointments.”