DeSantis and the Environment
A Little Bit of Nepotism and a Lot of Everglades Protection.
Compared to Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis is practically a Greta Thunberg on environmental issues. Of course, by the same token, I’m practically a Steph Curry on the court compared to Danny DeVito.
Sarcasm aside, DeSantis is pretty good on environmental issues for a Republican. But he rarely mentions climate change, and his record on renewable energy is a cipher. One thing we do know, however, is that he’s not above a bit of shameless nepotism when making important energy appointments.
The biggest thing in DeSantis’s favor is his position on the Everglades, where he’s garnered applause from conservationists. He has backed $3 billion in spending on the Everglades and water quality improvements. DeSantis has also been good on climate adaptation. As Time magazine reports:
“DeSantis has championed a program to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars to communities across the state to help them prepare for the sea level rise and worsening flooding that will result from climate change. The Little River area has alone received commitments of more than $25 million in state funds. ‘The governor [wants] to deliver results to real problems that exist right now,’ says Wesley Brooks, who DeSantis appointed as the state’s Chief Resilience Officer to oversee climate adaptation efforts, ‘and set the stage for better preparedness in the future.’”
DeSantis tends not to say much about what’s actually causing climate change. He does admit there’s a “human contribution” to global warming. In terms of renewable energy, he has also tended to stay mum. He did rather dramatically veto a bill designed to practically shut down rooftop solar in the state. That’s an important step given that, despite calling itself the “Sunshine State,” Florida has lagged behind in making any use of all that sun to generate power.
In search of more enlightenment, I took a look at the DeSantis appointee to the state public service commission. One of his appointees was actually a reappointment, having served on the commission for four years. Prior to that he had been a deputy secretary in the state EPA.
The other was . . . let’s say, a bit different: a 2019 law school graduate who had spent a couple of years in the commission’s legal office. But surely, you must be thinking, there must have been something to distinguish her from the other 33,000 people just out of law school.
And you would be right about that. By the sheerest coincidence, her mom is the president of the state senate. “One hand washes the other,” as Tony Soprano was wont to say.
And there you have it. Ron DeSantis, defender of the Everglades and kindly patron to struggling young lawyers.
Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…READ more