Monday, August 04, 2014

Florida Gov. Rick Scott shamelessly panders to environmental vote: must be an election on the horizon … by gimleteye

Scarcely more than a year ago, Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill that had environmentalists, including former US Senator Bob Graham, howling.

The bill, HB 999, was proposed by a state representative, Jimmy Patronis (R-Panama City), who is the right-wing darling and is now under consideration for an appointment to the Public Service Commission board. That is the board that sits as Florida's shadow government.

HB 999 served another branch of Florida's shadow government: Big Sugar. The bill contained more than a dozen provisions, but one of its most toxic was a measure blocking the Florida Wildlife Federation from suing to overturn a controversial decision by Scott and the Cabinet to grant 30-year leases to 31,000 acres of the state's Everglades property to two major sugar companies.

The lease-back, to Florida Crystal and US Sugar, gave a huge lever against the public push by environmental groups to speed the conversion of sugar lands into storage treatment areas for sugar's polluted runoff.

Today we know -- thanks to the Tampa Bay Times -- US Sugar paid the Republican Party of Florida the partial expense of gilded hunting trips by private jet for the state's top GOP officials, including Gov. Scott, to the King Ranch in Texas.

According to Scott, "no state business was discussed". Even if that is not a blatant lie, it could have been the truth because the state legislature and Scott had already done the work for Big Sugar. The hunting trips were just "thank you's".

"I can't say enough good things about him (Gov. Scott)," Frank Matthews, who lobbies on behalf of developers, phosphate miners, boat manufacturers, sugar growers, power companies and a garbage company, told the Times in the year-ago report. "He couldn't be more accommodating."

The lease-back that Scott approved, brooking no dissent, was another stake in the heart of Everglades restoration.

Matthews said that his clients "appreciate the Legislature and the governor continuing to protect Florida's resources while promoting economic development and recovery. It's unfortunate regulatory reform is often sensationalized and characterized as anti-environment." Bullshit.

At the King Ranch luau, that's was the name of one of the favorite mixed cocktails, "Regulatory Reform". Chuckle, chuckle, chuckle. What the one hand giveth, the other hand taketh away.

So today's roll-out of a new Rick Scott initiative, to invest $500 million in Florida's badly degraded springs and up to $150 million in the program he already gutted, Forever Florida, is just a crock of hooey.

When Scott came to office, three miserable years ago, one of his first acts was to approve the legislature de-funding Forever Florida, then to instruct his environmental staff to sell off public lands and to balance water district budgets by sharply reducing the number of scientists studying water pollution.

In just the last session of the legislature, dozens of industry lobbyists turned out to destroy a springs protection bill that was long overdue. To believe Governor Rick Scott: next year will be different.

Believe that, and you too will get an all-expense paid trip to the King Ranch by private jet to do in the woods whatever your heart desires.

My heart desires a new governor for Florida, and I hope yours does too.


Progressive Democrat said...

Why wont Charlie Crist debate his primary opponent, Nan Rich, the only true Democrat in the race? He wont even acknowledge she exists. Disgusting.

Needless to say, I will be voting for Rich on primary day over Republican Charlie Crist.

And if Nan Rich loses, I will vote for Farid Khavari in the general. I have met Khavari. He is a progressive from Miami Beach and a nice person.

Anonymous said...

Ditto! I will not vote for Crist under any circumstances. Do Democrats forget that he was our previous Republican governor? That he ran for the Senate as a Republican?
What is wrong with our party?

miaexile said...

what is wrong with the florida democratic party you ask? look no further than Daphne Campbell, abuser of the elderly, scam artist, fully corrupted Daphne Campbell. it will not stop me from voting for Crist and that is how badly i want o see Scott out of TLH.

Anonymous said...

When governor Scott makes god on his committments, you Genious will be sendingq me to King Ranch? If there is one thig he does do is keep his word.

When will you be extolling the milestone of settling 24 yr old litigation by Scott that Charlie, Jeb, chiles nor graham could do? 880'million cep plan is underwear with 200+ million in projects to begin this year alone. Like lengthening tamiamimtrail bridge. Something our federal congressman/woman couldmnot get funding for. Scott did. He rebuilt state budget from negative 3 Bilion to positive 1.2 billion. Now that there is money it gets invested.

Oh yeah there was money last year but he gave 480 million for teacher pay raises. They deserved it more.

As Scottts economy continues to grow there will be more funds for more projects and the lake o water can finally move south into the Everglades as intended.

Oh yeah the state also footed the bill to finish putting the oxbows back into the Kissimmee river which is seeing results that would make you cry with the types of wildlife that has been returning. ALL DONE BY SCOTT.

You should go out their some time and maybe you could see for yourself that Gov Scott is not anti environment it just took him 2 YEARS to clean up the mess Charlie Crist left behind when he squandered millions buying sugar out in a deal that was not about the Everglades as much as it was about giving sugar a huge bailout when they needed it most with dollars that could have been used for projects like c33 and c44 and.....