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Reality Check: Rick Scott and the Florida GOP’s Toxic Environmental Record

This morning, in his State of the State speech, Rick Scott again misrepresented Florida Republicans’ abysmal environmental record.

Here are the facts: 

No matter what Tallahassee Republicans claim, Floridians know they have been an unmitigated disaster for Florida’s environment. 

Rick Scott has shortchanged Florida’s springs and rivers for years, and is an opponent of clean water standards. As the Tampa Bay Times reported, Rick Scott’s approach of letting polluters police themselves has been a dismal failure.

Scott laid off employees of the Department of Environmental Protections for doing their job, and enforcement actions against polluters have dropped by almost 90%. He gutted environmental protection and growth management agencies, allowing polluters to destroy our environment. He vetoed hundreds of millions for the Florida Forever program and cut $700 million from the budgets of Florida’s water management districts. 

Finally, Florida Republicans like Scott still refuse to address the crisis of climate change. He has asked for solutions to a problem he won’t even acknowledge actually exists. After meeting with climate scientists, Scott gave no public comment on whether or not he had learned anything or was persuaded.  

Rick Scott and the Florida GOP’s disastrous environmental record is beyond dispute, and no rhetoric can change that reality. As the overwhelming passage of Amendment 1 made clear, Floridians care deeply about our environment. Scott’s record shows that he just does not get it.

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