Gubernatorial Runners Lay Environmental Charges

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: August 8, 2014 3:55 AM
Charlie Crist, Rick Scott, Nan Rich

Charlie Crist, Rick Scott, Nan Rich

The Florida gubernatorial contest turned toward the environment this week as Gov. Rick Scott tours the state to focus on his agenda and both sides launched new ads focusing on the issues. 

The governor started his “Let’s Keep Florida Beautiful” tour on Monday, pointing toward his plan to send $500 million for alternative waters, $500 million for springs and his efforts for the Everglades. Scott is also calling for the state Department of Environmental Protection to increase fines on polluters.

Scott continued that tour on Thursday, visiting Jacksonville to showcase his environmental agenda.

“Florida’s natural beauty is a big reason why this is the best state in the country to call home,” Scott said. “Our natural resources are the foundation of our economy – they drive tourism, housing, business, and agriculture – and they deserve our long-term commitment. We’ve made record investments in Florida’s environment, but there’s more work to be done. With a $1 billion investment in Florida’s waters, an ongoing commitment to the Everglades, and tougher penalties for bad actors, we’ll ensure that Florida’s treasures are protected for generations to come.”

But Scott drew fire from the left on the environment on Thursday as liberal PAC American Bridge launched a new Web video.

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“Rick Scott is traversing the state this week, attempting to convince Floridians that his sudden interest in environmental protection is something more than election-year pandering. It won't work,” insisted Jesse Lehrich of American Bridge on Thursday. “As rising sea levels associated with climate change pose a greater and greater threat to the Florida coastline, Rick Scott has only doubled and tripled down on his ‘I'm not a scientist’ buffoonery. But you don't have to be a scientist to listen to scientific consensus. And you certainly don't need a science-believing governor to suffer from increased flooding in your hometown.

“Rick Scott has had four years as governor,” Lehrich added. “He's repeatedly shown that he's more concerned with protecting special interests than protecting the environment.”

But Scott’s team pushed back at their leading Democratic rival on Thursday on the environment. The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) unveiled a new Web video on Thursday, hitting former Gov. Charlie Crist on the environment. Despite having spent most of his political life in the GOP, Crist is the favorite to win the Democratic primary later this month and win his new party’s nomination to challenge Scott in November. The ad showcases Crist relying on a private jet to get around the state.

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“Charlie Crist is so desperate for his old job back he often pontificates about his love for Florida’s environment, but crisscrosses the state in his polluter pal’s private jet – the height of hypocrisy,” said RPOF Chairwoman Leslie Dougher on Thursday. “When it comes to the environment, Crist is just full of a lot of hot air.”

Crist took off the gloves earlier this week to hit Scott over the environment.

“Florida's beauty needs to be protected -- but Rick Scott has abandoned her,” Crist insisted on Monday. “He's prioritized polluters and corporations over our home. He doesn't even believe in climate change!”

Crist tried to contrast his record with Scott’s. “He might be changing his tune now that the election is around the corner,” Crist noted about Scott. “I've always been a champion for our beautiful state.”

Trying to catch Crist in the Democratic primary, former Florida Senate Minority Leader Nan Rich came out swinging at both of her main opponents this week.

“Rick Scott and Charlie Crist want to talk about the environment,” Rich informed supporters earlier this week. “I wonder why we didn’t see them at the Save Our River Clean Water Rally in Stuart this weekend to protect the Indian River Lagoon? Maybe it’s because Crist and Scott are responsible for eight years of gutting growth management and environmental protection laws. Charlie Crist signed the bills that repealed key portions of Florida’s growth management laws, eliminated transparency and muzzled Floridians who are trying to protect wetlands. Florida needs real environmental protections, and a governor who will enforce them.”

Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie has also been playing up his commitment to the environment. Over the weekend, Wyllie was at the Save Our River Clean Water Rally in Stuart where he ran into Rich.

Wyllie focused on his “comprehensive environmental policy” earlier this week, which consists of  taking the “power away from agencies such as the FDEP to give corporations and government the authority to pollute,” eliminating the “protection corporations have from civil legal action so polluters are open to class action lawsuits” and reversing the “damage by allowing rivers and floodplains to return to their natural state.”

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com. 

Comments (4)

7:34PM AUG 10TH 2014
People will vote for Adrian Wyllie, if they know he is there to choose from. People are not happy with scott/crist as the choices and would jump at the chance to vote for Wyllie. The word needs to be spread like wildfire, if so, Wyllie will be the next Governor and we so desperately need a good man like him. Do your part and donate and get involved with the super brochure program, it's powerful! I donate at least an hour a day to help out. I pray others will do the same.
William Dail
7:43AM AUG 9TH 2014
Adrian Wyllie is also not jet setting around the state like Crist & Scott. Wyllie is traveling by car doing a 30 cities in 30 days craft beer tour road trip. Somebody knows how to spend money wisely! Choose Wyllie!
Ron R
7:33AM AUG 9TH 2014
Check out Bill Wohlsifer's (running for Fla Atty General) Hemp 4 Water plan for financing and improving water quality.
Hugh Yonn
6:57AM AUG 8TH 2014
In north Florida there are thousands of acres of pines being grown for pulp. If any of these folks wanted to make a HUGE environmental change it would be a push for hemp farming.

"In 1916, the US Government predicted that by the 1940's, all paper would come from hemp and that no more trees need to be cut down. Government studies report that 1 acre of hemp equals 4.1 acres of trees."

---Department of Agriculture

And the above report is from 1916...look how far we have come...
The whole pot fiasco is pathetic...

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