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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Gov. Rick Scott approves controversial environmental legislation

Gov. Rick Scott has signed HB 999, a bill so detested by a host of environmental groups that they brought in former Sen. Bob Graham to try in vain to stop it.

Scott's action Thursday disappointed environmental advocates but did not surprise them, said Estus Whitfield of the Florida Conservation Coalition. He predicted it might hurt Scott at the ballot box when he seeks re-election in 2014.

"I don't think it's any feather in his cap," said Whitfield, who worked as an aide to four governors, both Democratic and Republican. "I think the general public is getting tired of seeing the environment sold down the river."

Asked why he signed a bill that drew more than 350 letters or emails urging him to veto it, Scott gave a vague response.

"I care a lot about the environment," the governor said. "We've worked very hard to make sure this is the state where you can get a job, make sure your child's getting an education, it's safe, and it's also a place where we can keep our community clean. One of the things I'm most proud of is the fact that we've worked very diligently to get the Everglades, get the water flow increased, get the quality of water increased, so everything we're doing, whether it's the Everglades, whether it's our spring … we're doing everything we can to make this a clean environment where we all want to live."

Read about the bill here.

[Last modified: Friday, May 31, 2013 9:20am]


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