Former DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein returns to government for public lands effort
Image via Ryan Callihan of The Bradenton Herald.

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He left the administration in June, but is returning to serve on a board under his former department.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has appointed his former Department of Environmental Protection secretary, Noah Valenstein, to the Florida Communities Trust Governing Board.

Valenstein left the administration in June after four years on the job.

Florida Communities Trust functions under DEP to help local governments acquire land, including through the Florida Forever land acquisition and conservation program. Funding for Florida Communities Trust comes from Florida Forever proceeds.

The Florida Communities Trust was unable to meet earlier this year because of two vacancies on the governing board. Valenstein fills out the panel as the fifth member.

Former Gov. Rick Scott initially appointed Valenstein DEP Secretary in June 2017, and DeSantis kept him on when he took office in 2019.

Valenstein was also doubling as the state’s Chief Resilience Officer on an extended temporary basis. He took on the dual role in March 2020, weeks after the state’s first Chief Resilience Officer, Julia Nesheiwatleft the state to be then-President Donald Trump‘s Homeland Security Adviser.

“I look forward to continuing to serve in the environmental community and am excited to see the next steps as this environmental movement continues,” Valenstein said in May.

After  leaving DEP, Valenstein joined the American Flood Coalition as its senior adviser. The coalition is “a growing team” of a nationwide alliance of cities, elected officials, military leaders, businesses and civic groups working on sea level rise.

During his tenure as DEP Secretary, Valenstein received praise from environmental groups that weren’t afraid to attack the Governor’s office.

Before DEP, Valenstein served as the executive director of the Suwannee River Water Management District. His education background includes an undergraduate degree from the University of Florida’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. He also holds a law degree from Florida State University.

Valenstein had previously served as Scott‘s environmental policy coordinator. Valenstein later replaced interim DEP Secretary Ryan Matthews, who filled in after former Secretary Jon Steverson quit to join the legal-lobbying firm of Foley & Lardner.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


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