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Florida: Republican ‘green governor’ seeks to reverse predecessor’s legacy

Richard Luscombe, The Guardian

January 23rd, 2019

Barely a week after positioning himself as the new champion of Florida’s polluted waterways and beaches, the new Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, is facing an early test of the environmental credentials that have put him at odds with his predecessor, Rick Scott.

DeSantis has called for the mass resignation of Scott’s hand-picked team of water policy managers, after they defied his request to delay awarding an eight-year land lease extension to the sugar industry giant Florida Crystals in the fragile Everglades wetlands. The land, south of Lake Okeechobee, is earmarked for a $1.6bn clean-water storage reservoir that DeSantis wants completed within four years, to hasten restoration of the state’s famous River of Grass.

But several of the directors of the South Florida water management district, which is responsible for water quality from Orlando to the Florida Keys, are continuing to refuse his demand that they step down, setting the stage for DeSantis to forcibly remove them from office over a snap November land lease vote that environmental groups criticized as “illegal, shameful and undemocratic”.

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