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Rick Scott on Environment

 

 


OpEd: Protestors blame Scott for red tide algae bloom

With the noxious odor of red tide hanging in the air and a fresh wave of dead fish washing up on nearby Gulf beaches, a large crowd of people incensed about the devastating algae bloom that has plagued the region for months directed their anger at Gov. Rick Scott during a campaign event in Venice.

Protesters took aim at Scott for cutting funding for environmental agencies early in his first term, arguing Scott's cost-cutting and deregulation have kept the state from implementing measures that could have helped minimize naturally occurring red tide blooms.

Scott supporters who came out to see the candidate said it's unfair to blame the governor for the algae bloom when red tide has been documented going back centuries. But Scott's critics say his policies have exacerbated the problem. Red tide blooms start offshore but can feed on nutrients found in nearshore waters. Leaky septic tanks, lawn fertilizer found in stormwater runoff & other factors can add to nutrient levels in nearshore waters.

Source: Herald-Tribune on 2018 Florida Senate race , Sep 17, 2018

Repealed mandatory septic tank inspection & cut state DEP

Scott's critics say his policies have exacerbated the problem of red tide blooms, which feed on nutrients found in nearshore waters. Leaky septic tanks, lawn fertilizer found in stormwater runoff and other factors can add to those nutrient levels. Scott signed off on legislation that repealed a mandatory septic tank inspection program. The inspections were intended to identify failing septic tanks that are leaching pollutants.

The governor also cut $700 million from the state's water management districts, which help implement a range of water quality programs. And Scott reduced staffing at the state Department of Environmental Protection and pushed to speed up and streamline environmental permitting, leading some to accuse the state of cutting corners in protecting the environment.

Source: Herald-Tribune on 2018 Florida Senate race , Sep 17, 2018

Emergency $9M to cope with red tide algae bloom

In recent years Scott has moderated his approach to environmental issues and supported increased funding for some environmental programs, but the policies from his early years as governor are the source of frequent criticism from environmental advocates.

Scott declared a state of emergency last month covering seven counties impacted by the red tide bloom. The governor also has directed $9 million in grant funding to help communities cope with the bloom.

"While red tide is a naturally occurring algae that has been documented along Florida's Gulf Coast since the 1840's, Gov. Scott is fighting to use all available resources to help impacted communities, including declaring a state of emergency and providing millions of dollars in grant funding to Southwest Florida counties for cleanup and recovery efforts," a spokesperson said.

Source: Herald-Tribune on 2018 Florida Senate race , Sep 17, 2018

Lake Okeechobee water is murky, but it's a federal issue

The Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson and his GOP challenger, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, have blamed each other for the state's environmental crisis.

Scott has run a TV ad accusing Nelson of having done nothing during his time in Congress to improve the situation with Lake Okeechobee. Seasonal discharges from the lake have fueled toxic algae blooms along the Treasure Coast and in Southwest Florida.

Whenever heavy rains raise Lake O's water level, the Army Corps of Engineers releases billions of gallons of water from the lake through canals. Since the federal government controls those discharges, Scott blames Nelson for not doing more to stop it.

But the Army Corps doesn't control the quality of the water in the lake. Environmental groups across the state have been harshly critical of Scott's tenure in Tallahassee, saying his administration's budgets cuts for environmental programs helped lead to the water problems now plaguing the state.

Source: Florida Today AdWatch on 2018 Florida Senate race , Aug 17, 2018

Break tourism records while protecting our environment

A lot has happened since I spoke to you last year. I could talk about how our unemployment rate is now down to 6.3%. How our crime rate is at a 42-year low. How we have invested record funding in protecting our environment, while our tourism industry is breaking records. Or how we have added more than 460,000 new private-sector jobs since the end of 2010.

Working together, we have made Florida not just a destination for tourists--but a destination for opportunity.

Source: 2014 State of the State Address to Florida legislature , Mar 4, 2014

Lay off DEP staff; environmental compliance & no enforcement

Polluters are getting away scot-free in Florida, quite literally, according to one group that alleges Gov. Rick Scott and his slimmed-down Department of Environmental Protection are not doing their jobs.

The Public Employees For Environmental Responsibility (PEER) issued a statement that the DEP collected 70% less in fines from violators in 2012, and the agency opened half as many environmental investigations as it did the year before.

PEER says Scott advised DEP staff to restrain from pursuing enforcement and laid off staff responsible for enforcing the state's environmental standards. PEER also released an internal DEP memo in which the deputy secretary advises directors to focus on compliance without enforcement. Meanwhile, the DEP says the lower enforcement numbers are merely a consequence of more Florida industries operating within safe environmental standards.

Source: Huffington Post on 2014 Florida Governor race , Aug 30, 2013

Base environmental policy on sound science, not politics

Floridians must realize that a personal investment in the environment provides them with an exponentially higher return in economic opportunity and quality of life. Our approach to environmental policy will rely on the following tenets:
Source: Florida Gubernatorial 2010 PVS Political Courage Test , Nov 1, 2010

Other candidates on Environment: Rick Scott on other issues:
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Adam Putnam
Alexander Snitker
Andrew Gillum
Charlie Crist
Gwen Graham
Philip Levine
Ron DeSantis
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Page last updated: Oct 08, 2018