It is often observed that you shouldn’t judge public officials by what they say, but by what they do.
Ron DeSantis, Florida’s alleged “environmental governor,” is pushing a proposal to allow the already decimated staff of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to take over federal oversight of wetlands permitting.
We’ve been down this road before. The short version is that Florida doesn’t have the staff to accomplish the job. This issue becomes complicated in the Trump era because the president and his cronies in the regulated industries have worked hard to undermine federal environmental regulations. DeSantis’ proposal threatens to advance that strategy.
This should be viewed in the context of the half measures the Florida Legislature is proposing under the so-called Waterways Protection Act, which in the final analysis may fall short of providing any significant improvement in protecting Florida’s lake, rivers and estuaries from turning into algae pastures. .
How to address the shortcomings in this bill has been a matter of debate within Florida’s environmental community.
Sierra Club has been pretty strong in supporting tougher, more comprehensive measures.
Other groups have argued this is better than nothing and are supporting it.
Perhaps the most telling statement came from DeSantis’ staffer, who touted the legislation as the best to occur in a decade.
Frankly, that’s a pretty low bar to surpass. Most of that decade was occupied by the environmentally tone deaf Rick Scott administration.
You need to recall this was the time when Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam fought proposed tougher federal water pollution standards and Bondi even weighed in to oppose tougher standards to protect Chesapeake Bay, which is far from Florida but may support the Polluters United ruling somewhere.
The DeSantis administration seems to be talking a good game, but when it counts, there are questions about whether we can count on his administration to do the right thing.