Since taking office, Florida Governor DeSantis has become known as America’s Governor of the Everglades.
In his first inaugural address in 2019, DeSantis said: “Now it’s my responsibility to build on the foundation that has been laid, navigate the challenges that lie ahead — economic, environmental, constitutional — and guide Florida to a stronger, cleaner and stronger state.” a safer future.” He did just that.
In the same message he said: “For Florida, our water quality and environment are fundamental to our prosperity as a state; it affects property values, anchors many local economies, and is central to our quality of life. Water is part of Florida’s DNA. Protecting it is a smart thing. that’s true too.”
Two days later, the governor signed an executive order that will take immediate action to protect our environment and one of our most important natural resources that also sustains our thriving economy: our water. The decree established many environmental policies and directives and promised: 2) accelerate critical Everglades restoration projects, including the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir; 3) establish a Blue-Green Algal Task Force committed to accelerating progress toward reducing the negative impacts of blue-green algal blooms; 4) appoints a chief researcher. and 5) create an Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection.
He accomplished all of this and more. This commitment was just the beginning of a first term that would include many extraordinary events and accomplishments to restore the Everglades and protect our natural resources, including the signing of Senate Bill 712, which included the most important environmental reform in decades and created the state’s Resilience. Florida program with the state’s first Confrontation Officer. Under DeSantis’ leadership, the South Florida Water Management District has initiated, achieved milestones, or completed components of more than 50 Everglades-related projects.
Therefore, the Everglades Trust was proud to endorse Ron DeSantis for re-election to a second term as Governor. When it comes to Everglades restoration, DeSantis delivered on promises to secure record funding, reduce harmful emissions through a new Lake Okeechobee operation plan, and advance and accelerate critical Everglades restoration projects.
With DeSantis’ landslide victory on Election Day, it showed that restoring America’s Everglades and protecting the environment is top of mind for Floridians, and that the health of the Everglades and Florida’s water economy continue to be a priority for voters and the businesses that drive Florida forward. economy based on tourism.
A healthy environment is an important component of a thriving economy, and Floridians who have been here for decades, and even those who have just moved here, recognize that important connection. Governor DeSantis understood early on that the economy and the environment are connected.
On January 3, 2023, when Governor DeSantis gave his second inaugural address, he showed that the Everglades and the environment remain a priority. He reiterated his commitment to Everglades restoration, saying, “Florida is now in a golden age of conservation for our precious natural resources. Our momentum is strong and we will finish what we started. we will leave Florida better than we found it.”
A week after his inauguration, on the anniversary of a landmark executive order he signed in his first term, the governor signed a new executive order that laid out a blueprint that builds on promises he made during his first term.
In detail, DeSantis increased his funding commitment to $3.5 billion over the next four years for Everglades restoration, water quality initiatives and protecting water supplies for Floridians, businesses and tourists.
The executive order prioritizes investments to restore water quality in the Indian River Basin and seeks to protect taxpayer investments in Everglades restoration. It also continues to prioritize and accelerate the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir; it reinforces the progress of the new Lake Okeechobee System Operations Manual; it restores the Blue-Green Algae Working Group; and it strengthens watershed management action plans and seeks to improve best management practices in partnership with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
There is no doubt that DeSantis’ commitment to the Everglades in his first term was monumental, but the commitment he made to the Everglades and the environment in the newly signed executive order is undoubtedly historic.
Time after time, DeSantis makes promises, and he keeps those promises. If his first term is any indication of what he can accomplish, Floridians and the great state of Florida will see this historic commitment become a reality.
Anna Upton is the executive director of the Everglades Trust. To learn more about the Everglades Trust, visit EvergladesTrust.org.
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