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Florida Democrats petition Rick Scott to acknowledge climate change harm

Responding to press reports that his holdings include large investments in fossil fuel companies, the Florida Democratic Party is launching a petition drive demanding that Gov. Rick Scott acknowledge the harmful effects of climate change on Florida.

“Rick Scott has denied climate change and the effects it has on Florida families, despite mounting scientific evidence. Now, Floridians know why — Rick Scott has enriched himself by heavily investing in companies opposed to climate change regulations. Sign this petition – tell him to finally stand up for Floridians and stop using his position as governor to benefit himself,” reads the petition.

The Democrats are responding to press reports Tuesday published in the Tampa Bay Times, which dove into his most recent available financial disclosures and then cross-checked his investments against policy positions on climate change held by the companies in his portfolio. The Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau [the partnership of the Times and the Miami Herald] reported that crosscheck found “a clear aversion to regulating greenhouse gases among companies that made up Scott’s portfolio the last time it was disclosed four years ago,” the Times reported.

Scott’s next round of financial disclosures, much more detailed under federal law, are due next month.

“We always knew Rick Scott was a climate denier, but now we have a clearer picture as to why,” Democrats’ spokesman Nate Evans stated in a news release issued by the state party Wednesday morning. “In true self-serving Scott form, he has millions of dollars in investments in companies that have directly advocated against climate change regulation. It’s time that Scott, who has continued to get richer at taxpayer’s expense, put Florida’s best interest first and finally acknowledge the harmful impacts that climate change is having on the state.”

The Democrats included references to past statements from Scott questioning climate change and reports that his administration has banned the term “climate change” from appearing in official state documents.

Scott is running for the U.S. Senate this year against incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. Scott’s campaign responded with this statement:

“Governor Scott put his assets in a blind trust to avoid conflicts of interest when he was first elected and that hasn’t changed. The Governor also signed one of the largest environmental protection budgets in Florida’s history this year, which invested $4 billion into Florida’s environment and included millions of dollars to help local governments with sea level rise planning. While Nelson and his fellow democrats continue to be all talk, Governor Scott remains focused on securing real solutions to protect our environment.”

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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