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Fried Says DeSantis Lacks Authority To Appoint Environmental Protection Secretary

Secretary Shawn Hamilton. Photo courtesy the Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Gov. Ron DeSantis is appointing Interim Environmental Protection Secretary Shawn Hamilton to the position permanently. 

But Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried says the governor lacks the authority to make the appointment without the Cabinet. 

Fried says her issue is not with Hamilton but DeSantis’, as she puts it, disregard for state law. 

She says the governor’s action belittles the urgency of environmental crises facing the state like toxic blooms of red tide that have left marine life belly-up. 

Fried, a Democrat, is running against DeSantis, a Republican, in the 2022 gubernatorial race. 

Hamilton would be the first African-American to serve in the position. He was appointed interim secretary in June when former Secretary Noah Valenstein resigned. 

Before that Hamilton was deputy secretary of Lands and Recreation, supervising Florida’s 12 million acres of public lands. He also served in the Alabama Air National Guard. 

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Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment and climate change at WMFE News. She is an award-winning journalist and author whose extensive reporting on the Everglades is featured in the book MOVING WATER, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, and podcast DRAINED, available wherever you get your podcasts. Amy’s ... Read Full Bio »