TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott's chief of emergency management testified Thursday before the Legislature and had a half dozen chances to use the term "climate change."
But Bryan Koon would not say the C words.
Scott has denied news reports that Department of Environmental Protection employees were barred from using the terms "climate change," "global warming" and "sustainability," but he has declined to discuss the subject in detail.
In a televised hearing before a Senate budget subcommittee, Koon was talking about his agency's request for federal funds to improve emergency life safety notifications for residents and visitors in advance of floods, tornadoes and hurricanes in Florida. Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, asked Koon if it's true that states need to have "climate change plans" to qualify for that federal money.
Yes, Koon replied, referring to "language to that effect."
"I used 'climate change,' " Clemens said, "but I'm suggesting that maybe as a state we use the term 'atmospheric re-employment.' That might be something that the governor could get behind."
Senators roared with laughter, and the chairman, Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, almost literally fell out of his chair.
Koon said Clemens was right and the state's next hurricane mitigation plan, due in 2018, must include "language discussing that issue."
"What issue is that?" Clemens asked.
"The issue you mentioned earlier," Koon replied.