Ever since Governor Rick Scott took office in 2011, Florida has taken steps back in conservation and land management.
Bob Graham, former governor and U.S. state senator, joined in on the debate and said Rick Scott reversed 40 years of Florida’s progress in conservation efforts.
During Scott’s term he has:
- Cut $700 million from Florida’s management districts. The cuts hurt efforts to restore the Everglades and Indian River Lagoon while also threatening water supply. 300 positions were eliminated from the water district.
- Ended an initiative that begun in 2001 that protected Florida’s springs. The initiative already totaled $25 million in spending.
- Put the state’s water supply under the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) instead of the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). People are concerned that the DEP will only follow the minimum requirements, if that, set by the EPA.
Some of the blame can be given to the strong Tea Party movement in Florida. The Tea Party wants to reduce government control and has unfortunately hurt the conservation progress by doing so. By making the government smaller, we are losing some of the control we had over the conservation efforts to keep Florida from getting much worse.
To be fair, I am not here to just mention all the bad things Rick Scott has done regarding conservation efforts. He has signed House Bill 7065, which gives financial support to help restore the Everglades. The $880 million promised to the restoration project was met with little criticism from the Florida state government.
However, some say the measure does not go far enough in getting the sugar industries off the hook for polluting the Everglades. The bill does not give consequences to sugar companies who do not reduce the amount of phosphorus coming off their land. Still, the bill does head in the right direction.
Florida has a diverse, beautiful ecosystem and it seems that the government forgets it in order to profit from their own agenda. As residents of the the state, we cannot stay silent as the state faces destruction caused by the ignorance of the people who are supposed to represent us. Contact your representatives and keep fighting!
For a more in-depth list of Gov. Rick Scott’s decisions on conservation efforts, check out this great Broward New Times article at browardpalmbeach.com.