Tags: Climate Change | Global Warming | florida | environment | climate change | global warming | rick scott

Fla. Environmental Agency Can't Talk of Climate Change: Report

By    |   Monday, 09 Mar 2015 11:45 AM

Florida officials have banned state's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) from using the words "climate change" or "global warming" as a part of any government communications, the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting says.

According to FCIR, "the policy goes beyond semantics and has affected reports, educational efforts and public policy in a department that has about 3,200 employees and a $1.4 million budget."

While at least two state officials — the governor's spokesperson included — have said no official policy exists about the semantics, according to FCIR, at least one attorney said his staff has been told that words like "climate change," "sustainability" and "global warming" were taken off the table at the DEP.

"That message was communicated to me and my colleagues by our superiors in the Office of General Counsel," Christopher Byrd, an attorney with the DEP’s Office of General Counsel in Tallahassee from 2008 to 2013, told FCIR.

"DEP does not have a policy on this," Tiffany Cowie, spokeswoman for the DEP, told FCIR in an email. She declined to elaborate in three subsequent email requests for more information by FCIR, an investigative reporting nonprofit.

Added Jeri Bustamante, a governor's office spokesperson to FCIR: "There’s no policy on this."

The unwritten policy, however, seems to track along with Florida Gov. Rick Scott's own skepticism about such environmental concerns. When asked by The Miami Herald for his views on the issue, Scott said: "I am not a scientist." But the governor has also touted his record on coastal flooding and the Everglades as examples that he cares about the state's fragile environment.

Added the former Herald political reporter Marc Caputo: "Scott's new position resembles that of another top Florida Republican office holder, Sen. Marco Rubio, who has also expressed skepticism. Rubio, too, says he's not a scientist and he won't answer the question about whether he believes humans are causing the planet to warm."

The Tampa Bay Times called Scott's record, as he was running for re-election last year, "an environmental disaster."

"Scott has bulldozed a record of environmental protection that his Republican and Democratic predecessors spent decades building. He weakened the enforcement of environmental laws and cut support for clean water, conservation and other programs," the paper wrote in an editorial published in September.

The Times added of Scott: "He simultaneously made it easier for the biggest polluters and private industries to degrade the state's natural resources.

"While the first-term Republican attempts to transform himself into an environmentalist during his re-election campaign, his record reflects a callous disregard for the state's natural resources and no understanding of how deeply Floridians care about their state's beauty and treasures."

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Florida officials have banned state's Department of Environmental Protection from using the words "climate change" or "global warming" as a part of any government communications, the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting says.
florida, environment, climate change, global warming, rick scott
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2015-45-09
Monday, 09 Mar 2015 11:45 AM
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