And on DeSantis’s 3rd day it was the environment.
Ron’s not wasting any time 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.
In the details, he demands the resignation of the board members of the South Florida Water Management District, orders the South Florida Water Management District to begin immediate work on the reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. Allocates $2.5 billion over the next four years for Everglades Restoration, a 40% increase. Creates a task force dedicated to combating blue-green algae and also creates Office of Environmental Accountability and Transparency. Lastly, DeSantis creates and appoints 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. Gov. DeSantis is doing just that. The timeline for completion of the reservoir project is estimated at five years and the new governor is getting started right away while prioritizing the 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, it'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.
Photo by: Joe Raedle/Getty Images