Rick Scott has an abysmal environmental record.
So the latest report revealing that Scott ordered the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to ban the term "climate change" from all emails and reports should be the least shocking thing you've ever heard in your entire life.
Scott has, from the word go, been the exact opposite of an environmental champion as (a now two-term) governor of a state that is literally going to disappear from the map thanks to rising sea levels due to that term he doesn't want the people charged with protecting the environment to use.
Sure, he's giving big money to conservation, and hey, that's super. But when you are going out of your way to make sure the term "climate change" is banned from studies, reports, and efforts to clean up the state, that sort of negates any good you do. Because it's not enough. And the banning of that term shows a systematic, willful intent to thwart any good work that can be done to make sure Florida doesn't go the way of Atlantis.
Here are six reasons you shouldn't be shocked by any of this:
1. Rick Scott Has Pretty Much Always Openly Denied His Belief in Climate Change Scott's public reluctance to side with science on climate change began back in 2010, when he first ran for office, and his official stance was, "I have not been convinced." On more than one occasion, Scott has used the bizarre "I'm no scientist" defense whenever he's asked about climate change being manmade. He's also either gotten in the way or has done nothing at all to help Florida from becoming a solar energy state.
2. Rick Scott Loves Nuclear Plants Scott has been a big fan of nuclear plants, particularly the one in Turkey Point, where he wants another one built. He wants another plant in Miami for Florida Power & Light -- which, incidentally, has donated $550,000 in campaign contributions to the governor. For his reelection, Scott's PAC collected millions from utility companies to keep Charlie Crist and his green policies from taking office.
3. Rick Scott Has a History of Screwing With DEP In the no-climate-change-mentions report, Christopher Byrd, an attorney with the DEP Office of General Counsel, said, "We were told not to use the terms 'climate change,' 'global warming' or 'sustainability.' That message was communicated to me and my colleagues by our superiors in the Office of General Counsel."
But this is nothing new. When Scott took over in 2011, there was a 28 percent drop in enforcement cases handled by the DEP, while pollution penalty assessments dropped by 29 percent, according to a report from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. That same report also showed that there were only nine cases involving a fine of more than $100,000 in 2011 to companies that violated environmental laws. This was a 50 percent drop from the previous year. The report also revealed that the DEP's Office of General Counsel handled the third-lowest number of case reports in the history of the agency.
4. Rick Scott Has Never Been a Real Friend to the Everglades Yes, he's pledged millions to help the Everglades. But Scott is not innocent when it comes to the damage done to the Everglades. Why? Because he appointed a man who was responsible for screwing up the Everglades to protect the very Everglades he screwed up.
5. Rick Scott Has Been Screwing Up the State's Waters Since he's been in office, Scott has systematically weakened the DEP by cutting down on environmental oversight by getting rid of jobs from the South Florida Water Management District, slashing $150 million of DEP's budget, and even killing Jeb Bush's environmentally friendly initiative that protected the state's springs. From the time he was first voted in, Scott has made it almost a hobby to gut Florida's environmental protection programs across the board.
6. Rick Scott Is Shady and Secretive Rick Scott is known for invoking the Fifth Amendment as if he were told he would be paid a million dollars every time he did so. His has a shady history with Medicare fraud and has been a master at eluding questions that might otherwise nail him. He lied about his use of his government email for private use and has never been known as a guy who is straightforward and honest. So for his administration to order the DEP to not use "climate change" in secret memos and behind the scenes should shock no one, least of all anyone living in Florida.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to New Times Broward-Palm Beach's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling South Florida's stories with no paywalls.