Press Releases

LCVVF Names First Member of 2018 Dirty Dozen: #FLSEN’s Rick Scott

Aug 29, 2018

Alyssa Roberts, 202-454-4573,

Tallahassee, Florida — LCV Victory Fund today named Florida Senate candidate Rick Scott as the first member of its signature Dirty Dozen list for 2018. LCV Victory Fund’s supporters voted for Scott to be the debut member of the list, which has targeted some of the worst anti-environmental candidates for more than 20 years.

Scott is a climate change denier who has banned the words “climate change” from official Florida government communications. With Florida facing the destructive impacts of climate change head on — rising sea levels and the devastation brought by Hurricane Irma — Scott is continuing to side with Big Oil, trying to trick voters about his stance on offshore drilling as the fossil fuel industry funds his campaign.

“Rick Scott’s pro-polluter record makes him the ideal first candidate for the 2018 Dirty Dozen,” said Pete Maysmith, LCV Victory Fund Senior Vice President for Campaigns. “Scott’s election-year environmentalism isn’t fooling anyone. From censoring climate science to cutting millions from water management and mishandling the current toxic algae crisis, Floridians know that Scott puts Big Oil ahead of their communities every single time.”

Two current environmental crises are at the top of voters’ minds this election: red tide and the toxic algae bloom. As governor, Scott cut $700 million from water management — but he’s pointing the blame on everyone but himself.

Scott has tried to deceive voters about his environmental record since deciding to run for Senate. LCV has called him out with @RickRollRickSct, a parody designed to ensure Florida voters have the facts about Scott’s record.

Members of the Dirty Dozen have consistently sided against the environment and — regardless of party affiliation — are running in races in which LCV Victory Fund has a serious chance to affect the outcome.


Read Rick’s Record:


Scott Said He Was “Not Convinced” Of Man-Made Climate Change

Rick Scott Said “No” When Asked If He Believes In Climate Change. According to the Tampa Bay Times, “In a wide-ranging interview Monday aboard his campaign bus, GOP gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott said science does not support global warming. Asked if he believes in climate change, he said ‘No.’” [Tampa Bay Times, 7/26/10]

Rick Scott Said “I Have Not Been Convinced” On Climate Change And Would Need “Something More Convincing Than What I’ve Read.” According to the Tampa Bay Times, “‘I have not been convinced,’ he said. Asked what he needs to convince him, ‘Something more convincing than what I’ve read.’ Scott finds himself in an awkward position as he completes the final leg of his six-day statewide bus tour in the oil-ravaged Panhandle.” [Tampa Bay Times, 7/26/10]

Rick Scott Said He Doesn’t Believe In Global Warming. According to the Palm Beach Post, “Scott doesn’t believe in global warming, but says he drives a fuel-efficient Lincoln MKS hybrid and recycles paper and plastic from his Naples home. He’s still considering whether the state should provide renewable energy incentives. ‘I’m asking people on the road for ideas for things,’ Scott said.” [Palm Beach Post, 7/26/10]

Rick Scott: “I’ve Not Been Convinced That There’s Any Man-Made Climate Change. Nothing’s Convinced Me That There Is.” According to the Tampa Bay Times, “But Crist’s ardor for battling global warming cooled considerably as the economy collapsed and he mounted a bid for the U.S. Senate. Crist’s successor, Gov. Rick Scott, doesn’t think climate change is real, even though it’s accepted as fact by everyone from NASA to the Army to the Vatican. ‘I’ve not been convinced that there’s any man-made climate change,’ Scott said last week. ‘Nothing’s convinced me that there is.’” [Tampa Bay Times, 5/15/11]


Scott Repeatedly Said He Was “Not A Scientist”

Rick Scott Twice Said “I’m Not A Scientist” When Asked If He Thinks Man-Made Climate Change Is Real. According to the Miami Herald, “Florida Gov. Rick Scott won’t say whether he thinks man-made climate change is real and significant. ‘I’m not a scientist,’ Scott said when asked about anthropogenic global warming during a Tuesday stop in Miami. Scott then talked about money for flood control and Everglades restoration. Scott’s refusal to weigh in on the issue contrasts with his position in 2011, when he said ‘I’ve not been convinced that there’s any man-made climate change… Nothing’s convinced me that there is.’ So is Scott repositioning himself now, believing more in man-made climate change? Scott wouldn’t say. ‘I’m not a scientist,’ Scott repeated, noting again his environmental record.” [Miami Herald, 5/27/14]

Rick Scott On Climate Change: “I’m Not A Scientist But We Are Going To Make Sure We Take Care Of Our Environment.” According to the Miami Herald, “During the press gaggle after the event — where a big sweaty crowd jammed into a stiflingly small spot — Scott was asked about whether he believes in climate change. Question by SharkTank blog: ‘Gov. Scott it’s very hot in here. Does that have anything to do with global warming considering Charlie Crist’s position is that global warming exists. What is your take on global warming or climate change.’ Scott: ‘I’m not a scientist but we are going to make sure we take care of our environment.’ Scott then talked about funding for the coasts, Everglades and springs but didn’t address climate change.” [Miami Herald, 5/27/14]


Rick Scott Directed Agencies Not To Use The Terms “Climate Change” or “Global Warming”

Florida Department Of Environmental Protection Was Ordered Not To Use The Term “Climate Change” Or “Global Warming” In Any Official Communications, Emails Or Reports. According to the Miami Herald, “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 with about 3,200 employees and $1.4 billion budget.” [Miami Herald, 3/8/15]

Florida Department Of Environmental Protection Employees Said They Were Told Not To Use The Terms “Climate Change,” “Global Warming,” Or “Sustainability.” According to the Miami Herald, “‘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.” [Miami Herald, 3/8/15]

Unwritten Policy Went Into Effect After Rick Scott Took Office In 2011. According to the Miami Herald, “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. Gov. Scott, who won a second term in November, has repeatedly said he is not convinced that climate change is caused by human activity, despite scientific evidence to the contrary.” [Miami Herald, 3/8/15]




Rick Scott Rejected An Opportunity To Reduce Outflows From Lake Okeechobee By Acquiring Land For Water Storage. In July of 2016, the Sun Sentinel reported: “Lobbied by U.S. Sugar, a major campaign contributor, the governor and his appointees at the water management district rejected a deal to buy U.S. Sugar land south of the lake for water storage. That could have eventually reduced the need for discharges to the ocean.” [Sun Sentinel, 7/8/2016]

Algae Blooms Can Be Traced Back To Runoff Flowing Into Lake Okeechobee With Phosphorus Levels More Than Four Times Higher Than Target. In July of 2016, the Sun Sentinel reported: “The algae fouling South Florida beaches traces its origin to cattle ranches, farms and neighborhoods as far north as Orlando. A vast area drains into Lake Okeechobee, where water laden with phosphorus has fertilized the growth of horrific algae blooms that have been discharged to the ocean. The target phosphorus level for the lake is 105 metric tons a year. Last year, the lake received 450.” [Sun Sentinel, 7/8/2016]

Tampa Bay Times Editorial: “Scott Has Bulldozed A Record Of Environmental Protection That His Republican And Democratic Predecessors Spend Decades Building.” In a September 2014 editorial, the Tampa Bay Times wrote: “Scott has bulldozed a record of environmental protection that his Republican and Democratic predecessors spent decades building. He weakened the enforcement of environmental laws and cut support for clean water, conservation and other programs. He simultaneously made it easier for the biggest polluters and private industries to degrade the state’s natural resources. While the first-term Republican attempts to transform himself into an environmentalist during his re-election campaign, his record reflects a callous disregard for the state’s natural resources and no understanding of how deeply Floridians care about their state’s beauty and treasures.” [Tampa Bay Times Editorial, 9/5/2014]

Rick Scott Asked The EPA To Back Off Water Quality Standards For Florida. In April of 2011, the Miami Herald reported: “The day after the Florida House passed a bill to ban implementation of water quality standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration, Gov. Rick Scott on Friday asked the agency to rescind a January 2009 determination that the federal rules are necessary for Florida. Opponents of the federal requirement say the state is better equipped to decide how best to comply with the federal Clean Water Act, which is intended to manage nitrogen and phosphorous pollution of lakes, rivers, streams and bays. They say the EPA standards will be costly to implement, don’t address specific conditions of local waterways and provide little biological benefit.” [Miami Herald, 4/22/2011]

Federal Judge Said Florida Agencies “Have Not Been True Stewards Of Protecting The Everglades” And Specifically Called Out Governor Scott’s Resistance To Federal Water Quality Standards. In an order issued in a lawsuit brought by an Indian tribe and Florida environmental groups, a federal judge wrote “What also is clear is that the State of Florida and the South Florida Water Management District (“SFWMD”), notwithstanding protests to the contrary, have not been true stewards of protecting the Everglades in recent years. The State’s claim that it is being unfairly criticized is belied by, inter alia, the enactment of the Amended Everglades Forever Act (“EFA”) to detrimentally change the State’s previous water quality standards, the State’s adoption of the disingenuous Phosphorus Rule to depart from the strictures of the original EFA, and the failure of the SFWMD to even implement its mandated duties under the EFA. Most recently, the State’s resistance to the water quality standards set by the EPA is evidenced by the Governor of Florida’s authorization to FDEP to petition the EPA to rescind its January 2009 determination that the federally-imposed numeric nutrient criteria are necessary for Florida.” [Miccosukee Tribe v USA et al 04-21448 ECF #585, 4/26/2011]

Rick Scott’s 2011 Budget Proposed Slashing Funding For Everglades Restoration. In March of 2011, the Press Journal reported: “Scott has proposed cutting $33 million in state dollars provided for Everglades restoration, a project that yielded $50 million in 2010, and includes measures to protect the St. Lucie River’s waters. The state also might look to determine more specific required nutrient standards for Florida’s waterways, which would help protect our waters from pollutants, said Mark Perry, executive director of the Florida Oceanographic Society.” [Vero Beach Press Journal, 3/6/2011]

Rick Scott Cut Budgets For Water Management Districts By $700 Million In His First Year. In a September 2014 editorial, the Tampa Bay Times pointed out: “In his first year, Scott forced the state’s five regional water management districts to reduce their budgets by $700 million and filled their appointed boards with developers, land use lawyers and others more interested in granting permits than preservation. That triggered cuts to water supply, restoration and other projects, and led to widespread layoffs at the water management districts that turned them into shells of their former selves. The Scott administration undercut enforcement and dampened public input on development as it eliminated the state’s growth management agency. DEP offered bonuses to employees to speed up permitting, and its departing regulatory chief boasted this year that the agency cut wait times for permits by two-thirds.” [Tampa Bay Times Editorial, 9/5/2014]

Florida Judge Raised Concerns About Rick Scott’s Proposals To Cut Funding For Water Management Agencies, Saying “The Entire Situation Is Rapidly Sliding Backwards.” In an order issued in a lawsuit brought by an Indian tribe and Florida environmental groups, a federal judge criticized the State of Florida’s lack of enforcement of Clean Water Act provisions, writing: “Furthermore, a recent proposal to reduce taxes for the State’s water management districts to decrease their budgets by 25 percent, or approximately $100 million from the SFWMD’s budget, has presented another concern for not only the District, but the parties to this litigation. Compounding these recent financial predicaments are the latest departures of individuals who were administratively responsible for overseeing the processes in this litigation. Simply stated, the entire situation is rapidly sliding backwards.” [Miccosukee Tribe v USA et al 04-21448 ECF #585, 4/26/2011]

Rick Scott Boasted On Camera About Cutting $700 Million From Water Management Districts. In Governor Rick Scott’s weekly radio address published in video format on YouTube on August 26, 2011, Scott said: “Also this week, I took action on the proposed budgets of Florida’s five water management districts. All together, these budgets reflect a reduction of more than 700-million-dollars over last year.” [Governor Rick Scott’s Weekly Radio Address, 8/26/2011]

PolitiFact Florida Headline: “Yes, Rick Scott Did Cut $700 Million From Florida’s Water management Districts.” Reporting with the headline “Yes, Rick Scott did cut $700 million from Florida’s water management districts,” PolitiFact Florida wrote: “The Florida Democratic Party tweeted that Scott ‘cut $700 million from water management.’ The budgets of Florida’s five water management districts were collectively cut by over $700 million about a year into Scott’s first term. Since the governor has the final say over the water management districts’ budgets, the tweet is largely accurate.” [PolitiFact Florida, 8/14/2018]

Rick Scott’s Administration Accused Of Replacing Experienced Environmental Regulators With Industry Insiders. In December of 2012, the Tampa Bay Times reported: “In 2003, when a leaky gypsum stack at an abandoned phosphate plant threatened to kill a vast cross section of Tampa Bay’s marine life, Charles Kovach came up with a solution that saved the bay. But this month, 17 years after he was hired by the state Department of Environmental Protection, Kovach was one of 58 DEP employees laid off by the agency. Kovach believes those layoffs were designed to loosen regulation of polluting industries. ‘I’ve seen the way politics has influenced that agency in the past, but never like this,’ Kovach said. ‘It’s not about compliance (with the rules). It’s about making things look like they’re compliant.’ On top of the layoffs is the fact that DEP Secretary Herschel Vinyard has installed a number of new people in the agency’s upper ranks whose prior experience was working as engineers or consultants for companies the DEP regulates.” [Tampa Bay Times, 12/24/2012]


Climate Ignorance May Be Making Florida’s Red Tide Algae Bloom Even Worse

Mote Marine Laboratory Scientist: Red Tide Bloom Is Likely Fueled By Climate Change. On August 23, 2018, NPR reported: “Although red tide is a natural phenomenon, this bloom is particularly extreme and damaging, and likely fueled by climate change, says Richard Pierce, senior scientist and program manager for ecotoxicology at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Fla. ‘What we’re looking at is an environment that has been totally altered because of the dead fish decaying, they use up all the oxygen,’ he tells Here & Now’s Robin Young. ‘It’s not suitable for life.’” [NPR Here and Now, 8/23/2018]

UF Professor: Climate Change Could Lead To Increased Growth Of Harmful Microorganisms In Nearshore Ocean Water, Including Red Tide. University of Florida Professor and Director of the Florida Sea Grant College Program Karl Havens wrote a paper for the Institute of Food and Agricultural Services Extension titled: “Climate Change and the Occurrence of Harmful Microorganisms in Florida’s Ocean and Coastal Waters” According to the paper’s summery: “Climate change is expected to result in increased temperatures of nearshore ocean water, and this could lead to increased growth of harmful microorganisms. These include algae that form noxious or toxic blooms, including red tides, and bacteria and other pathogens. This situation could have negative consequences in regard to human health and also Florida’s ocean-related economy.” [University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension publication #SGEF216]

Scientists Predict Climate Change Will Drive More Intense And Frequent Storms That Will Worsen Rain Runoff That Feeds Red Tide. In an August, 2018 story on the red tide affecting southern Florida, National Geographic pointed out: “What’s more, recent exceptional red tide years seem to follow massive storms, Bartleson says. Both 2004 and 2005 were intense hurricane years in Florida, with multiple storms crisscrossing the state. Tons of rain and thus nutrient-rich runoff flooded into the Gulf. And then in 2005, a 17-month long red tide—the longest in Florida’s records—gripped the state. Hurricane Irma blew through in 2017, which again led to massive runoff that perhaps is driving this latest bloom, says Bartleson. Scientists predict that as the climate changes, such storms will become even more intense and frequent, which could spell trouble for the future.” [National Geographic, 8/8/2018]



Rick Scott Defended The Decision To Withdraw From The Paris Accords

Rick Scott Defended Trump’s Decision To Withdraw From The Paris Accord; Said “The Paris Accord Clearly Was Not Focused On American Jobs.” According to the Orlando Sentinel, “Florida is unlikely to join such a coalition. Gov. Rick Scott, a vocal Trump supporter and fellow Republican, defended the president’s decision Friday. ‘He’s doing exactly what he said he was going to do on the campaign: He’s focused on American jobs,’ Scott told the Miami Herald. ‘The Paris accord clearly was not focused on American jobs. And it’s no different than we’ve done here.’” [Orlando Sentinel, 6/4/17]

Rick Scott Spokeswoman: “Governor Scott Believes The Paris Accords Were Very Clearly Going To Hurt Jobs In The United States.” According to News-Press, “Count Florida Gov.Rick Scott in Trump’s corner: He doesn’t like the Paris Climate Agreement, either. An open Trump supporter, Scott sent a message to The News-Press to announce his thoughts and ideas on the recent controversy. ‘Governor Scott believes the Paris Accords were very clearly going to hurt jobs in the United States,’ said spokeswoman Lauren Schenone. ‘The governor understands that we should never sign any agreement with any other country that will hurt American jobs.’” [News-Press, 6/9/17]


Rick Scott Supported Drilling Off Florida’s Coasts And In The Everglades

Rick Scott: “I Believe We Can Come Up With A Way To Drill With The Right Precautions.” According to PolitiFact, “She sent us a link to an interview on WIOD News Radio in which he was asked if he wanted to continue to drill. ‘I believe we can come up with a way to drill with the right precautions,’ Scott said.” [PolitiFact, 5/18/10]

Rick Scott: “If There’s Oil Down There, We Have To Figure Out How We Can Drill For It. But We Have To Create Safeguards. I Believe We Can.” According to the Tampa Bay Times, “If elected, Scott said he would review each state agency, end programs that don’t work and create a regulatory environment to support business and jobs. He said he supports nuclear power and offshore oil drilling. ‘If there’s oil down there, we have to figure out how we can drill for it. But we have to create safeguards. I believe we can,’ he said.” [Tampa Bay Times, 5/26/10]

Rick Scott Said He Could Support A “Cautious” Amount Of Drilling In The Everglades. According to the Associated Press State & Local Wire, “Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday waded into the bubbling controversy over Florida’s Everglades by saying that he could potentially support drilling in the famed swampland. Instead of joining with other Florida politicians who are dead set against the idea, Scott said that he could support a ‘cautious’ amount of drilling. He made his remarks during a question and answer session before members of The Economic Club of Florida. ‘With regard to the Everglades, I think we have to be very cautious if there’s going to be any more drilling. It’s my understanding at least, we haven’t had any problems in the Everglades to date,’Scott said. Scott, who lived in Collier County before becoming governor, noted that there was already a small amount of oil production that has been going on for decades in the Everglades.” [Associated Press State & Local Wire, 9/6/11]

Rick Scott: “We Already Have Oil Wells In The Everglades. There’s A Road In Naples That’s Called ‘Oil Well Road.’ So, We Already Have Oil Drilling.” According to the Associated Press State & Local Wire, “‘We already have oil wells in the Everglades. There’s a road in Naples that’s called ‘Oil Well Road,’Scott said. ‘So, we already have oil drilling. We’ve done it I think since 1943…I think first off people are very shocked that we have it already. They don’t know that.’ Scott’s openness to drilling puts him closer to the position of Minnesota U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann who said she could support drilling during a presidential campaign swing through Florida last month.” [Associated Press State & Local Wire, 9/6/11]




Rick Scott Supported Offshore Drilling

Rick Scott: “I Believe We Can Come Up With A Way To Drill With The Right Precautions.” According to PolitiFact, “She sent us a link to an interview on WIOD News Radio in which he was asked if he wanted to continue to drill. ‘I believe we can come up with a way to drill with the right precautions,’ Scott said.” [PolitiFact, 5/18/10]

Rick Scott: “If There’s Oil Down There, We Have To Figure Out How We Can Drill For It. But We Have To Create Safeguards. I Believe We Can.” According to the Tampa Bay Times, “If elected, Scott said he would review each state agency, end programs that don’t work and create a regulatory environment to support business and jobs. He said he supports nuclear power and offshore oil drilling. ‘If there’s oil down there, we have to figure out how we can drill for it. But we have to create safeguards. I believe we can,’ he said.” [Tampa Bay Times, 5/26/10]

Rick Scott On Offshore Oil Drilling: “We Have To Continue To Look At It.” According to the Bradenton Herald, “Mambi host Ninoska Pérez Castellón, who spoke with Scott in Miami. ‘He’s very much like what he projects on television, but in this particular election, I think people need more than an image and a promise because of the economic situation. He gives very standard answers, and voters are going to want more from him and all of the candidates.’ Scott on offshore oil drilling: ‘We have to continue to look at it.’ On his business background: ‘I know what it’s like to balance a budget.’ On social issues: ‘Family values are very important to me.” [Bradenton Herald, 7/25/10]

Rick Scott: “My Belief Is That We Have To Continue To Look At Offshore Drilling But We’ve Got To Do It Safely.” According to the Tampa Bay Times, “It made for an awkward moment as Scott completed the final segment of his six-day statewide bus tour. ‘My belief is that we have to continue to look at offshore drilling but we’ve got to do it safely,’ he told a business roundtable in Panama City. ‘I think as a country and a state we’ve got to become as energy independent as we can.’ Later, in an interview aboard his campaign bus, Scott clarified that it won’t happen in the ‘foreseeable future.’ ‘We are not going to drill now,’ he said. ‘It’s not safe. It doesn’t make any sense.’” [Tampa Bay Times, 7/26/10]

Rick Scott Opposed A Moratorium On Offshore Oil Drilling; Said “Never Is A Long Time. If We Figure Out Some Day That It’s Safe I Think We Ought To Look At It.” According to the Tampa Bay Times, “State law currently forbids drilling within 10 miles of the coast but state lawmakers have tried numerous times in recent years to lift the ban. Scott said he supports President Barack Obama’s moratorium on drilling in the Gulf until new safety measures are developed. But he said he opposes a constitutional ban on drilling in state waters. ‘Never is a long time,’ he said. ‘If we figure out some day that it’s safe I think we ought to look at it.’” [Tampa Bay Times, 7/26/10]

Rick Scott Said He Would Oppose A Constitutional Ban On Offshore Drilling. According to Palm Beach Post, “Rick Scott, the Republican flooding TV airwaves in Florida, said today that he would oppose a constitutional ban on offshore drilling that Gov. Charlie Crist wants lawmakers to put on the November ballot. ‘We need to protect our beaches, break our dependency on foreign oil and hold oil companies accountable when there are problems,’Scott said. ‘As governor, I’ll look to strike a balance between responsible exploration that takes every precaution and is far enough from our shores while holding oil companies accountable for their mistakes.’” [Palm Beach Post, 5/11/10]

Rick Scott: “Calling For A Special Session To Pass A Constitutional Amendment To Ban Drilling Is A Political Stunt That Will Cost Taxpayers Money We Don’t Have. A Constitutional  Amendment Is Not Needed We Already Have A Moratorium In Place.” According to the Rick Scott for Florida FAQ page, “Calling for a special session to pass a constitutional amendment to ban drilling is a political stunt that will cost taxpayers money we don’t have. A constitutional amendment is not needed we already have a moratorium in place.” [FAQ Page –Rick Scott For Florida, 10/21/10]


Rick Scott Did Not Comment On Trump’s Push For Offshore Drilling

Rick Scott Declined To Comment On Trump’s Proposal For Offshore Drilling. According to the Tampa Bay Times, “Democratic and Republican politicians in Florida have expressed concern about the Trump administration’s renewed push for offshore oil drilling, but two high-profile figures are noticeably quiet. ‘I haven’t seen his proposal,’ Gov. Rick Scott told the Tampa Bay Times on Tuesday, declining to say more on the issue. We asked Sen. Marco Rubio, too, and he’s refused comment. — Times staff writer Malena Carollo contributed.” [Tampa Bay Times, 5/2/17]


Rick Scott Used A Carefully Orchestrated Press Conference To Stage A Flip-Flop For Political Gain

January 2018: Ryan Zinke Announced A Proposal To Expand Offshore Oil Drilling In Nearly All Of U.S. Waters, Including The Eastern Gulf Of Mexico. According to the Bradenton Herald, “Several key Florida politicians spoke out against the Trump administration’s plan to expand offshore oil drilling in nearly all of U.S. waters, including the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced the proposal Thursday, which considers opening up the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2019-24, expanding 90 percent of the area for drilling. U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, a longtime opponent of drilling off Florida, was quick to mention the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 and subsequently spilled an estimated 210 million gallons of oil.” [Bradenton Herald, 1/4/18]

Ryan Zinke Exempted Florida From The Proposal After Meeting Rick Scott For 15 Minutes At The Tallahassee International Airport. According to the Bradenton Herald, “A meeting between U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Gov.Rick Scott in Tallahassee on Tuesday evening led to the removal of the coastal waters of Florida from consideration for offshore oil drilling expansion. On Jan. 4, Zinke announced that parts of the eastern Gulf of Mexico, along with the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic, were part of a draft proposal to expand offshore oil drilling expeditions in the form of 47 new leases. The U.S. Department of the Interior also is considering rolling back regulations that were put in place after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Scott said he had requested to meet with the interior secretary last week. The two met at Tallahassee International Airport at 5:45 p.m., 15 minutes after the State of the State reception was scheduled to start.” [Bradenton Herald, 1/9/18]

Ryan Zinke Said It Was Rick Scott That Caused The Administration To Change Its Position On Florida Drilling. According to the Associated Press, “When asked what caused the administration to change its position on Florida drilling, Zinke said bluntly, ‘The governor.’ Scott said he was pleased at the administration’s change of heart. ‘It’s a good day for Florida,’ he said, adding, ‘I think it’s very important to continue our efforts to take care of our environment.’ Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson said the meeting with Zinke was ‘a political stunt orchestrated by the Trump administration to help Rick Scott,’ who Nelson said has long wanted to drill off Florida’s coast.” [Associated Press, 1/10/18]

Documents Showed Rick Scott And Ryan Zinke’s Press Announcement On Offshore Drilling Plan Was “Carefully Choreographed To Give Scott A Political Win.” In a March, 2017 story about Interior Secretary Zinke’s visit and press announcement about withdrawing Florida from a proposed offshore drilling plan, Politico reported: “The documents, which include phone records, text messages, and emails, contradict the supposed spontaneous event that portrayed Scott as single-handedly securing a politically popular win for Florida’s environmental future only days after the administration had spelled out a controversial new national five-year plan to boost offshore oil drilling. The event left Scott, at least for the moment, with a big victory to hold over Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), whom the term-limited Scott is almost assuredly challenging in 2018. The records reaffirm the perception at the time that the Trump administration’s decision to reverse course and remove Florida from the list was carefully choreographed to give Scott a political win in his widely expected challenge this year to unseat Nelson.” [Politico, 3/27/2018]

PolitiFact: “Full Flop” For Rick Scott For New Opposition To Offshore Drilling. According to PolitiFact, “During his first campaign for governor in 2010, Scott called for drilling offshore. After the Deepwater Horizon explosion, he added language to his campaign website to state that he wanted drilling done in an ‘environmentally sound way and adhering to the strictest of safety standards.’ During his first term, Scott took no meaningful steps to expand drilling. But when Trump’s administration proposed an expansion of offshore drilling Jan. 4, Scott said he opposed the idea and sought a meeting with Zinke. That rejection sounds different from his stance when he first ran for governor in 2010 and he was open to drilling. We give Scott a Full Flop.” [PolitiFact, 1/10/18]

Sun-Sentinel Editorial: “There Is Scott’s Own Record On Expanded Offshore Drilling. He Has Said Often That He Supports It, Adding The Condition That It Must Be Done Safely. When The Interior Department Introduced Its Drilling Plan Last Summer, Scott Took No Position. Suddenly, Though, The Governor Is A Convert.” According to an editorial by the Sun-Sentinel, “Finally, there is Scott’s own record on expanded offshore drilling. He has said often that he supports it, adding the condition that it must be done safely. When the Interior Department introduced its drilling plan last summer, Scott took no position. Suddenly, though, the governor is a convert. Then there’s the angle of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach. Trump’s plan would have opened the Atlantic coast to drilling. Walter Shaub, who ran the U.S. Office of Government Ethics during President Obama’s second term and for six months under Trump, said the administration is ‘exempting the state that is home to the festering cankerous conflict of interest that the administration likes to call the ‘Winter White House’ and none of the other affected states.’” [Editorial – Sun-Sentinel, 1/12/18]


Weeks Later, Rick Scott Did Not Take A Position On Legislation To Permanently Ban Drilling Off Florida’s Coasts

Rick Scott Did Not Take A Position On Legislation To Permanently Ban Drilling Off Florida’s Coasts. According to the News Service Of Florida, “Nelson has filed legislation to permanently ban drilling off Florida’s coasts and on Wednesday placed a ‘hold’ on the confirmation of three Interior Department nominees, which he said would remain in place until Zinke rescinds the current draft five-year drilling plan and replaces it with a new draft that fully protects Florida’s coasts. Asked about Nelson’s legislation on Thursday, Scott said he had not seen what was being proposed, but maintained his opposition to offshore drilling. ‘I’ve been clear, I oppose offshore drilling,’ Scott said.” [News Service Of Florida, 1/19/18]

Tampa Bay Times: “The Governor’s Inconsistent Positions On Drilling Are Under Scrutiny As He Declines To Say Whether He Supports A Permanent Ban.” According to the Tampa Bay Times, “Rick Scott. Donald Trump did him a giant favor by reversing course on a plan to expand offshore drilling off Florida’s Gulf Coast, but now the governor’s inconsistent positions on drilling are under scrutiny as he declines to say whether he supports a permanent ban.” [Tampa Bay Times, 1/21/18]




Rick Scott’s Administration Actively Rolled Back Climate Change Projects

2011: Florida’s Department Of Environmental Protection Stopped “Pursuing Any Programs Or Projects Regarding Climate Change.” According to the Tampa Bay Times, “In low-lying Florida, where 95 percent of the population lives within 35 miles of its 1,200 miles of coastline, a swelling of the tides could cause serious problems. So what is Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection doing about dealing with climate change? ‘DEP is not pursuing any programs or projects regarding climate change,’ an agency spokeswoman said in an e-mail to the St. Petersburg Times last week. ‘That’s a crying shame,’ said former Gov. Charlie Crist. It shows how fast popular causes can come and go in Florida politics — even ones that are put into state law. Yet even when causes lose favor in Tallahassee, that’s not necessarily the end of them.” [Tampa Bay Times, 5/15/11]

2011: Rick Scott Proposed Scrapping The Florida Energy & Climate Commission, Which Made Recommendations On The State’s Climate Change Efforts. According to the Sun-Sentinel, “Gov. Rick Scott’s budget proposes moving the Governor’s Energy Office, which administers state and federal energy grants including $176 million from the federal stimulus package, to the Department of Environmental Protection, and scrapping the Florida Energy & Climate Commission, unpaid board members that research and makes recommendations on the state’s climate change efforts.” [Sun-Sentinel, 2/24/11]

Rick Scott Abolished The Florida Climate And Energy Commission. According to the Sun-Sentinel, “But Scott said he doubted whether climate change was real, although more recently he has deflected questions by noting that he was not a scientist. Working with the Legislature, he abolished the Florida Climate and Energy Commission, handing off some of its duties to the Department of Agriculture as part of a general government streamlining.” [Sun-Sentinel, 3/30/15]

2012: Rick Scott Signed Legislation Repealing A Cap And Trade Law Designed To Control Power Plant Emission In Florida; The Cap And Trade Law Was Never Actually Implemented. According to the Associated Press State & Local Wire, “Gov. Rick Scott has signed a bill repealing a cap and trade law designed to control power plant emissions in Florida. Scott signed the bill (HB 4001) on Friday. The law was never implemented since the Legislature passed it in 2008 at the urging of then-Gov. Charlie Crist. It was intended as a market-based approach to controlling greenhouse gas emissions that are contributing to global warming. The concept, though, has fallen out of favor among Republicans who control the Florida Legislature. They contend it would kill jobs and have questioned scientific evidence linking such emissions to climate change.” [Associated Press State & Local Wire, 4/7/12]

Under Rick Scott, Florida’s Environmental Agencies Were Downsized And Retooled, Making Them Less Effective At Coordinating Sea Level Rise Planning In The State. According to the Associated Press, “But the state has yet to offer a clear plan or coordination to address what local officials across Florida’s coast see as a slow-moving emergency. Republican Gov. Rick Scott is skeptical of man-made climate change and has put aside the task of preparing for sea level rise, an Associated Press review of thousands of emails and documents pertaining to the state’s preparations for rising seas found. Despite warnings from water experts and climate scientists about risks to cities and drinking water, skepticism over sea level projections and climate change science has hampered planning efforts at all levels of government, the records showed. Florida’s environmental agencies under Scott have been downsized and retooled, making them less effective at coordinating sea level rise planning in the state, the documents showed.” [Associated Press, 5/10/15]

Florida’s Department Of Environmental Protection Was In Charge Of Protecting The State Environment And Water But Took No Official Position On Sea Level Rise. According to the Associated Press, “Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection is in charge of protecting the state environment and water but has taken no official position on sea level rise, according to documents. DEP spokeswoman Lauren Engel said the agency’s strategy is to aid local communities and others through the state’s routine beach-nourishment and water-monitoring programs.” [Associated Press, 5/10/15]

South Florida Water Officials’ Attempt To Organize A Statewide Plan Was Met With Indifference By Rick Scott, Whose Administration Organized Just A Few Conference Calls To Coordinate Local Efforts. According to the Associated Press, “Water quality is a big concern for many communities. It’s especially bad in South Florida – just north of Miami, Hallandale Beach has abandoned six of eight drinking water wells because of saltwater intrusion. Wells in northeast and central Florida are deemed at risk too. While South Florida water officials have led the charge in addressing sea level rise concerns in their area, their attempt to organize a statewide plan was met with indifference, documents show. The Scott administration has organized just a few conference calls to coordinate local efforts, records show. Those came only after Florida’s water district managers asked DEP for help.” [Associated Press, 5/10/15]

2017: Rick Scott Signed Legislation Allowing Any Florida Resident To Challenge What Kids Learn In Public Schools. According to the Washington Post, “Any resident in Florida can now challenge what kids learn in public schools, thanks to a new law that science education advocates worry will make it harder to teach evolution and climate change. The legislation, which was signed by Gov. Rick Scott (R) this week and goes into effect Saturday, requires school boards to hire an ‘unbiased hearing officer’ who will handle complaints about instructional materials, such as movies, textbooks and novels, that are used in local schools. Any parent or county resident can file a complaint, regardless of whether they have a student in the school system. If the hearing officer deems the challenge justified, he or she can require schools to remove the material in question.” [Washington Post, 7/1/17]



Paid for by LCV Victory Fund,, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.