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Charlie Crist's Environmental Record Means Florida Going Green Again, Maybe

With all the flip-floppy talk that is sure to come at Charlie Crist in the coming year from Rick Scott and the GOP, there's one area they might not be able to touch: the environment.

Even before he changed parties and began changing his views from right things to left things, Crist had a pretty impressive environmental record when he was governor of the state.

So that, along with a stance on wanting medical marijuana legalized, could win him back the governor's seat, maybe.

In 2008, as governor of Florida, Crist hosted a Climate Change summit. He also appropriated $100 million to continue to restore Everglades. He made sure manatees were not taken off the endangered species list and kept a coal-fired power plant from being built near the Everglades. Crist was also active in trying to reduce the stat's greenhouse gas emissions.

"He was more green than any governor had ever been before," David Guest of Earthjustice said at the time.

Meanwhile, environmentalists say that Rick Scott has been pretty terrible to the environment.

Critics have pointed out that Scott has been mostly meh about enforcing environmental laws. He hired an attorney, Herschel Vinyard, to head the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. And, so far, not much good has been done. Regulations have been lax, and the state's environment have been put aside.

Under his watch, Scott signed House Bill 999, which essentially relaxes environmental regulations on businesses in Florida -- making it easier for the state's wetlands to get polluted, and looks the other way as Big Sugar rapes the Everglades.

And while Scott looks the other way as Florida's environment gets screwed, more and more studies are coming out telling us how South Florida is basically going to sink into the ocean.

But this isn't a GOP problem as much as it's a Rick Scott and his Tea Party Pals problem.

Crist was a Republican a governor who championed environmental protection. As the Republican governor, he signed three executive orders to make sure the state was a leader in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and carbon emission reduction.

And he fought Big Sugar by trying to negotiate a deal to have the state buy a chunk of the Everglades for restoration.

Crist's opponents are going to come hard to the hoop with accusations of flip-flopping and pandering. But even when he was on top of the GOPer mountain, he was as green as any one could hope a governor could be.

Send your story tips to the author, Chris Joseph. Follow Chris Joseph on Twitter

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