And on DeSantis’s 3rd day it was the environment

And on DeSantis’s 3rd day it was the environment 

Excerpt: After a whirlwind day visiting both coasts to announce sweeping measures to address the state’s environmental woes, Florida’s new governor demanded water managers overseeing efforts to fix the Everglades step down on Thursday. 

At an afternoon meeting in Stuart, Gov. Ron DeSantis said he wanted the nine-member board at the South Florida Water Management District to resign because he believed they failed to understand the toll endured by communities by repeated algae blooms triggered by dirty lake water released into coastal rivers. 

“I just want good people who are willing to do the right thing,” he said. On Thursday, DeSantis sent letters asking for the board members’ resignations after (Brian) Mast recommended it.

Bottom Line: Ron’s not wasting anytime getting down to business. A day after the nomination of the first of three Florida Supreme Court Justices Governor DeSantis penned an executive order calling for a complete overhaul of environmental policy in the state. Among the details: 

  • Demanded the resignation of the board members of the South Florida Water Management District  
  • Ordered the South Florida Water Management District to begin immediate work on the reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee  
  • Allocated $2.5 billion over the next four years for Everglades Restoration – A 40% increase  
  • Creation of a task force dedicated to combating blue-green algae 
  • Creation of the Office of Environmental Accountability and Transparency 
  • Creation/appointment of a Chief Science Officer to the state cabinet 

All I can say is that I’m pretty ecstatic about what’s happening here... After the South Florida Water Management District attempted to strike a back-door deal with Florida Crystals in late November to block the southern reservoir construction, I called for the removal of all board members. Ron’s doing it. The timeline for completion of the reservoir project is estimated at five years – Ron's getting started right away while prioritizing Everglades Restoration. That’s especially important as water flows are redirected south through the Everglades in the future. We’ll see what the effectiveness of the algae taskforce is but if your job is to make it stop...if that's more than worth it. 

Also, of significance is the new prioritization on environmental science. Too often it’s politized. Our state more than any other is desirable and vulnerable due to even subtle environmental changes. It’s important that we have and consider important information that can guide decision making on everything from water management to sea level rise, etc. If this turns into carbon tax nonsense, I’ll be the first to call it out. If we make use of good science in decision making going forward, Florida will be better off for it. What will today bring?

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