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Intersection: DeSantis calls for entire South Florida water board to resign, dedicates billions to environmental causes

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The Everglades. Photo: National Parks Service

The Everglades. Photo: National Parks Service

Gov. Ron DeSantis asked the entire governing board of the South Florida Water Management District to resign Thursday, calling for “a clean reset of the leadership of the Board.”

The state agency oversees Everglades restoration and manages water resources in Central and South Florida.

The announcement came after the governor completed a boat tour of Little Hickory Bay and stopped at Bonita Beach to sign an executive order pledging $2.5 billion to restoring the Everglades, battling the state’s toxic algae problem and establishing an office to combat sea level rise.

“We had Republicans, Independents, Democrats. I think this is something that can unite all Floridians, and so I’m happy to be able to sign this,” DeSantis said.

Speaking to WGCU, Conservancy of Southwest Florida President Rob Moher said he was pleased with DeSantis’ approach.

“We have an expression, ‘Never let a good crisis go to waste.’ I think this governor is coming in at the right time, and has a coalition, a broad coalition of support, regardless of political party, regardless what sector you’re in — private, non profit. We all have to pull together in the same direction,” Moher said.

The executive order is expected to ensure a greater commitment to environmental conservation in Florida, 90.7 Environmental Reporter Amy Green told Intersection. 

“The plan establishes an office of environmental accountability and transparency, which will focus on science and making sure state actions are aligned with scientific priorities,” said Green. 

DeSantis’ environmental actions contrast with those of both his predecessor, former Florida governor Rick Scott, who reportedly banned phrases like “climate change” from state agencies, and President Trump, who was very supportive of DeSantis’ gubernatorial campaign.

“What DeSantis appears to be doing here is putting science right at the center of his plans and trying to create this science-based way of mitigating all of these arguments, and it’s a very obvious step away from the administration of former Florida governor Rick Scott, who said he was not a scientist when addressing issues like climate change,” Green said.

DeSantis’ environmental plan marks the highest amount of spending on restoration in Florida history.

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