Gov.-Elect DeSantis Transition Committee Chair: ‘Environment Is A Priority’

Dec 18, 2018
Originally published on December 17, 2018 6:28 pm

The chair of Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis’ Transition Advisory Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture says the environment will be a priority under the DeSantis administration.

As the Republican prepares for his Jan. 8 inauguration, a series of advisory transition committees are meeting and discussing ways to help the incoming governor realize his policy goals.

The Transition Advisory Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture kicked off a week of discussions with a teleconference call on Monday afternoon. Members discussed a wide range of topics including invasive species, red tide and deteriorating coral reefs.

A common theme during the discussion was water.

“Water is the lifeblood of our environment, and, certainly, everything that goes into that water. And that environment for us in Florida is the lifeblood of our economy,” said Southeast Florida Republican Congressman Brian Mast, who chairs the committee. “We can put this quite simply that, if we wouldn’t want our kids in a bathtub with it then we probably don’t want it in our waterways.”

Committee members repeatedly called for more partnerships, more funding and more research. Mast said DeSantis would hear all of their concerns and advice and said the administration would take appropriate action.

“Water is a priority, the environment is a priority, Florida’s natural resources are a priority for this governor-elect,” he said. “In my opinion, personally, I think he’s going to be known for his work on these issues.”

Members of the public were also given time to express their concerns.

“Because red tide was so bad, and having lived here since 1971, I smelled the death from the ocean 15 miles inland,” said one caller, who told the committee she is a real estate broker working in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. “That is something that’s never happened before. This is an unprecedented event and we have to do something.”

She went on to ask if the DeSantis administration would be interested in forming a citizens’ task force to tackle environmental issues.

“I feel like the last eight years under the current administration [of Republican Gov. Rick Scott], we have felt like a disconnect or we haven’t had a role to play,” she said. speaking of current Republican Governor Rick Scott. “I feel very hopeful after listening to this long session and getting this opportunity to voice my thoughts.”

“Your message will be clearly conveyed to the governor-elect,” replied Mast. “I promise you that.”

The Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture will hold its third and final meeting on Friday, Dec. 28, before making recommendations to Gov.-elect DeSantis. A conference call number will be provided before the meeting at DeSantisTransition.com. Members of the public are invited to participate.

Brendan Rivers can be reached at brivers@wjct.org, 904-358-6396 or on Twitter at @BrendanRivers.

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