The St Augustine Record reports on the latest activities of Rick Scott, who is now making noises like an environmentalist, for the purpose of being elected for a stint in Washington. Most environmentalists will say that it is far too late for Scott to convince anyone that he cares a whit about Florida’s environment, when all the evidence points to the contrary. So when he comes out talking about preserving our springs, rivers and aquifer, we just can’t get too exited.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-
Scott hops the Gravy Train for wild Florida
Gov. Rick Scott has a habit of rolling out his proposed state budgets well in advance of the upcoming legislative sessions. He did that this week. The timing is correct. Remember the session begins in January this year, not in the spring.
So it comes as faint surprise he’s highlighting his environmental side in the upcoming budget — much too the amusement or chagrin of environmentalists who had yet to discover he possessed one.
Scott’s spent much of his time in Tallahassee dismantling the Department of Environmental Protection and striking the term “climate change” from staff vernacular.
“Scott has cut funding for the state’s water districts, vetoed funding for all the state’s regional planning councils …
“In addition, Scott’s Department of Environmental Protection has shifted away from punishing polluters with fines and other penalties to instead assisting polluters with getting back into compliance. Scott praised the DEP last year for cutting the amount of time it takes to get a permit to a mere two days — down from 44 days when Jeb Bush was governor.
“Scott’s DEP has also made several controversial moves to alter the award-winning state park system — selling off some land as surplus, for instance, or opening some parks to timber harvesting and cattle grazing or even hunting.”
So who’s this new guy vowing to fund a Garden of Eden in the Sunshine State next year? The answer to that question is likely “Senator Rick Scott” — a title he covets and will seek in 2018.
He rightly sees his environmental record is, well … vaporous. And land conservation and environmental issues are clearly important to Florida voters. They passed Amendment 1 by more than 75 percent in 2014. It set aside a set portion of real estate transaction fees for land conservation efforts in the state. That’s likely to be more than $850 million next year.
How’d that work out? Florida Forever was funded to the tune of $300 million by Gov. Jeb Bush — without the dedicated funds. In 2017 the program was completely defunded and the land conservation trust fund riddled with leaks, pouring money into areas with no business being mentioned in the same sentence as conservation.
We think it’s important for readers to know there can be a pretty wide gap between what Gov. Scott says and what Gov. Scott does when it comes to the state’s wild and endangered places.
It’s something to keep in mind 13 months from now at you polling precinct.