Please read this Ocala Star Banner article: Florida Governor pledges major spending on environment .
Okay, thanks. So, what do you think about it?
If you think that because of this announcement Rick Scott has seen the light and has become a virtuous soul of piously good environmental intent, you should read the rest of this … and then go see your therapist.
- Scott’s announcement is a desperate, insensitive, disingenuous ploy by a weak re-election campaign to grab reluctant support from an environmental community he has callously disregarded for the last four years … and which he is only now realizing was a very significant political mistake. It is such a complete reversal of his positions for the last four years, his credibility should now be as embarrassing to his supporters as it is a joke to the environmentalists he disparaged so vehemently.
- $500 million for new water supplies? If Florida is going to continue to have an economy at all, it must have more new water if enough cannot be conserved to meet the expected demand. So, this could be a signal that conservation is going to be given a back seat. If so, where are the new supplies going to come from? In terms of the state’s projected needs, groundwater is not the answer. More pumping is going to require many MFL’s (Minimum Flows and Levels) to be exceeded, more lost wetlands, impacts on springs, rivers, lakes, salt intrusion, etc. If it’s from surface bodies, there’s not even a handful of rivers that might not be significantly impacted by large diversions. Large diversions are only feasible on flashy rivers, like the Peace, that have huge “excess” flows on few occasions annually that can be effectively captured and stored. The main body of most rivers’ flows cannot be impacted without commensurate impacts to all else that depend upon their continuous historic average flows. Desalination? Not even in the conversation. And, where and for what purpose will this new water be used? Mining, power, big agriculture, “planned communities” that really aren’t? Finally, who’s going to receive the money to build the production, treatment and delivery systems? The private sector? That’s just transfer of more public wealth from working taxpayers to the pockets of special interests. Seems that’s what Tallahassee is all about anymore. If he lays $500 million on the table, it’ll be like the California gold rush to grab the last cheap water before someone else does. MFL’s and the environment will be damned and you and I will pay for it.
- $500 million for springs protection? That just means a whole lot more waste water treatment plants, a good thing for certain if it’s truly and only to get the nitrate production out of the springsheds. But what if it’s a ruse just to have you and me pay agriculture to clean up their messes. More “big ag” welfare? Aren’t they subsidized enough? New waste treatment plants? For whom? Use to be when a developer wanted to build a community, the cost of water production and waste treatment had to be covered by the developer and recovered from the folks buying the rooftops, even when the money went to the local government to build the facilities - a user-pay thing. Is Scott now proposing to help out a lot of developers under the guise of protecting springs? Certainly could be. It is completely consistent with his actions so far and highly doubtful the man could change his colors so fast. His disparagement of natural Florida's economic and aesthetic values has been so systemic and complete within Florida government the damage will be lasting for many years. No, strongly suspect subterfuge here.
- Regarding Amendment #1 - Placing this Nouveau Scott plan
on the table now will give strength to the argument that this is how we
need to pay for environmental protection and preservation, and why
Amendment 1 is not needed. The timing and inexplicable reversal of
it smells an awful lot like a Trojan Horse. Do we want to just forget how the
environment has been subjected to the whims of a thoroughly (and
embarrassingly) anti-environmental legislative and gubernatorial sentiment
for the last four years and why the Amendment is needed to overcome the
annual unpredictable whims of the legislature? No we will not, but watch
for the anti-amendment legislators to scurry out from under the baseboards
on this. Do not buy this Trojan ruse.
This would be condos were it not in public ownership.
- $150 million for Florida Forever? If it’s not guaranteed by a constitutional amendment for certain purposes, rest assured it’ll be spent in ways that favor special interests and not the environment, e.g., subject to utility and roadway easements, not with mineral rights reserved, not for connecting wildlife corridors, not for protecting and preserving remote environmentally unique areas, not to prevent destructive private leasing, not limited to passive public uses ... and billboards will be allowed in the swamps. Scott has spent the last four years weakening the protections our public dollars have bought and placed upon public lands. Why should we think he’s going to do any different with any new lands bought under this guise?
- Finally, increased regulatory scrutiny of permit holders is going to require a huge, really huge, shift in the anti-regulation culture Scott, Vinyard and Jeff Littlejohn have so meticulously constructed in place of the “pro” culture they destroyed. It represents a stark and unbelievable 180 degree reversal of a major campaign platform. Can we actually believe there is even an ounce of sincerity in this man and the army of anti-environmental minions he has strategically positioned within his administration? Where from and how did they come upon this near-religious revelation? Are we simply going to let them say, The devil made us do it, and thank them for their service? I don’t buy it and you shouldn’t either. The last four years have been a disastrous reality for natural Florida, much worse than just a bad dream from which we can now awaken. If we believe this man now, it’ll just be four more years of that same horrid destructive reality.
Carl Hiaasen wrote today about Rick Scott’s credibility and where he might hang the head of the deer he killed at King Ranch recently, “The bathroom wall would be a fitting place, hanging right over the toilet where he flushed his integrity.”