Remember when Rick Scott went around in 2014 claiming to be an environmentalist? Yeah, that was hilarious. If you find the rape and pillage of Florida amusing.
Some of our fellow citizens actually fell for it, too, just enough to get him re-elected. Flori-duh, indeed.
Here’s Scott’s shameful scorecard:
1. Still won’t talk about climate change, despite salt water intrusion in South Florida wells and massive flooding in Tampa.
2. Cut funding for water management districts, ‘cos, like, let’s just do whatever Big Shug says.
3. Speaking of Big Shug, Scott had an opportunity to push for acquiring land that would help restore the flow of water in the Everglades – which is how we restore the whole ecosystem. He didn’t, because Big Shug didn’t like it.
4. It gets better. Gov. 10-Watt fired the executive director of the South Florida WMD (Water Management District, Weapons of Mass Destruction – take your pick) for not pushing tax cuts hard enough and hired Pete Antonacci to replace him. Antonacci is uniquely qualified to make sink-or-swim decisions for the Everglades. He’s a former lobbyist for JP Morgan, former lawyer for Noelle Bush that time she hid a rock of crack in her shoe at the rehab, former Scott counsel, and a heavy in the firing of FDLE Chief Gerald Bailey.
5. Appointed yet another no ‘count developer to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. This is like asking Donald Trump to teach a Women’s Studies class – his interest in the subject is real, but misguided at best and not helpful. There’s not a single forester, wildlife biologist or conservationist on the FWC.
6. Still trying to privatize the finest park system in the nation through his useful idiot Jon Steverson, head of the Department of Environmental Prostitution, who thinks good land management should involve guns, cows and chainsaws.
7. Exhibited zero leadership during the regular legislative session, resulting in risible funding for Amendment 1 – which would be the land and water conservation program approved by far more voters than marked their ballot for Rick Scott.
The Florida Wildlife Federation (full disclosure–I used to be a board member) and several other environmental groups are suing the Legislature over misappropriation of constitutionally designated Amendment 1 money.
Here’s how they spent the money – the money you, the Florida citizen, said should go to buy land for the Florida Forever program:
- $623,043 for “executive leadership and administrative services” at the FWC. See above after you stop laughing bitterly.
- $38,575,538 for sewage treatment plants and stormwater treatment systems.
- $21,697,449 to the Department of Agriculture to pay for so-called “best management practices” (read: polluter friendly) on private, non-conservation land. Scott actually vetoed $5 million of this one, so Big Ag (read: many of the richest people in Florida) will have to limp along on $16 million and change.
- $1,222,158 for risk management insurance for various state departments, funding liability for damage claims against DEP, DOA, FWC etc., awards for workers’ comp claims, civil rights violations, etc.
And my personal favorite in this misbegotten list:
- $174,078,574 for salaries and overhead in the Department of Agriculture, DEP, FWC and the Department of State.
It’s not that all these appropriations are evil. I like a nice, new, efficient sewage treatment plant as much as the next person. But the state is supposed to be paying salaries and insurance anyway. And subsidizing the Department of Agriculture in its aiding and abetting of big polluters is just moronic.
And contrary to the will of Floridians.
Gov. 10-Watt’s been going around bleating about how Florida is awash in cash under his regime, so the state can’t plead poverty. He and the Legislature don’t like Amendment 1 and think they can ignore it. They don’t care that it’s in the Florida Constitution.
They don’t care about the constitution. Let’s hope the courts can make them.
Diane Roberts teaches at Florida State University. Column courtesy of Context Florida.