File:Beyond ludicrous politics in Florida March2015.png
Florida Politics, Florida's Governor
- Ban it, ban the term 'climate change'...
The state of Florida is the region most susceptible to the effects of global warming in this country, according to scientists. Sea-level rise alone threatens 30 percent of the state’s beaches over the next 85 years.
But you would not know that by talking to officials at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the state agency on the front lines of studying and planning for these changes.
DEP officials have been ordered not to use the term “climate change” or “global warming” in any official communications, emails, or reports, according to former DEP employees, consultants, volunteers and records obtained by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting.
The policy goes beyond semantics and has affected reports, educational efforts and public policy in a department that has about 3,200 employees and $1.4 billion budget.
“We were told not to use the terms ‘climate change,’ ‘global warming’ or ‘sustainability,’ ” said Christopher Byrd, an attorney with the DEP’s Office of General Counsel in Tallahassee from 2008 to 2013. “That message was communicated to me and my colleagues by our superiors in the Office of General Counsel.”
Kristina Trotta, another former DEP employee who worked in Miami, said her supervisor told her not to use the terms “climate change” and “global warming” in a 2014 staff meeting.
“We were told that we were not allowed to discuss anything that was not a true fact,” she said.
Shortly after Gov. Rick Scott... was elected, officials ordered a prohibition on the terms “climate change” and “global warming,” according to former employees. Low-lying Miami is among the U.S. cities most vulnerable to sea-level rise.
This unwritten policy went into effect after Gov. Rick Scott took office in 2011 and appointed Herschel Vinyard Jr. as the DEP’s director, according to former DEP employees.
John Tupps, a spokesperson for Gov. Rick Scott, told the Washington Post “there is no policy in existence. … Allegations and claims made in the [Florida investigative article] are not true. This policy, it doesn’t exist.”
In some southern parts of the state, such as Miami Beach, sea rise is no longer something to debate, but something to deal with daily. The city, expected to spend $400 million to combat rising tides in the next five years, already has invested in a new drainage system...
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