What the House is planning to do, is to undo years of federal litigation and negotiation that resulted in efforts to hold the Great Destroyers accountable for their costs. It's a sad testimony to the power of the radical right that cast its spell, holding the state in a fog of amnesia.
The House action on behalf of Big Sugar is being stimulated by an army of lobbyists. The public interest has a few of its own, but not many and not likely to influence the outcome. The reason is that Tallahassee is a bubble. It operates as an enclosed political sphere with its own oxygen -- money -- and its own laws. Government has never been more divorced from the people. The result is a state being turned into a "sacrifice zone" for the radical right.
Protecting the rights of polluters is a key agenda of the GOP. That is not, however, how it is pitched to citizens, voters or to the media.
These are "reasonable" businessmen. These are "job creators". These are "men of faith". These qualities are etched in the marketing that pitched Rick Scott to the Governor's Mansion and a host of telegenic young Republicans whose main aspiration is to memorize talking points and deliver them seamlessly so that they, too, can reach and materialize on Fox News like Senator Marco Rubio.
Example A: the recent collapse of the US EPA to enforce nutrient standards across the state and instead bow to Tallahassee, whose proposed rules many environmentalists believe are even worse than what lead to the filthy waters that ring the state. In the St. Pete Times, lead Earthjustice attorney David Guest compared "(the) agreement to a deal to protect henhouses from "the Fox Consultation Council," because "the polluting industries have effective control of the state pollution prevention process in Florida."
Example B: In a recent report, the Orlando Sentinel documented the pollution crippling Florida's rivers. Some good it did, in Tallahassee. "Orlando's Wekiva has gotten sicker. The Indian River - the riverlike lagoon along Florida's east coast - has been rocked by persistent and destructive algae blooms. The Wakulla near Tallahassee is plagued with dark, tannic water. Health authorities warn nearly every year that algae blooms in the Caloosahatchee in South Florida are toxic.
"We have a definite trend toward degrading water," said Rae Ann Wessel, a defender of the Caloosahatchee and member of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation." That's just the beginning. We could add Florida Bay and Biscayne Bay to the mix and wouldn't be far off.
These are only two examples showing how Florida has been turned into a "sacrifice zone" for the radical right. We have our political equivalents in Miami-Dade County. Read, below, how County Commissioner Lynda Bell sought to use the commission to carve out exemptions for a few violators in the 8.5 Square Mile Area. It is as though she could undo, single-handedly, the county environmental agency, enforcement, and the law at the same time.
From the point of view of environmentalists, what is unraveling in Tallahassee and power centers like Miami-Dade is nothing less than decades of desperately difficult work, putting in place rules of the road that are continuously undermined by special interests. Government designed to fail is nothing less that contractors being subsidized to blow up roads and buildings that tax dollars then reward them to rebuild.
This wouldn't happen if voters paid attention to what underlies the misdirection of policies arising from the worst economic crash since the Great Depression. The radical right calls it "shrinking the size of government so it can be drowned in a bathtub". What it really is, is a good old fashioned putsch; a government takeover by polluters and the self-righteous radical right who wave the flag of democracy and pages of the Constitution to avoid accountability. Pollute, yes! Regulate, no! Shift wealth to insiders, yes! Let the rest, eat chiccarones. The radical right claims to be winners. What they are winning is the race to the bottom.