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NextGen Climate brings Rick Scott’s gag order on climate change to the GOP presidential race

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A report published over the weekend says that under Rick Scott, officials with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection have been banned from using the terms “global warming,” and “climate change.”

The story has received massive media attention in the past 48 hours.

Never one to let bypass an opportunity, NextGen Climate is seizing on the apparent censoring to ask fellow Florida Republicans (and potential presidential candidates) Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio to respond to the report, and put them on the spot as to their thoughts on man-made climate change.

In identical letters addressed to Bush and Rubio, NextGen Climate’s Sky Gallegos calls this “stunningly negligent behavior,” and calls on them to denounce “this gag order on Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection in the next 48 hours.”

“If you remain silent,” the letter states, “your priorities will be exposed and you’ll make clear where you stand on this critical issue.”

In 2012, Bush said that it’s “not unanimous among scientists that [global warming] is disproportionately manmade.”

Rubio told ABC News last May that he does not believe human activity is to blame for the issue in “the way these scientists are portraying it.” At the National Press Club, he said climate change is real but that cap and trade legislation wouldn’t prevent it from happening.

The letter in full can be read below:

Dear Senator Rubio,

Floridians deserve better.

While Florida is already seeing firsthand the impacts of climate change, it was discovered this weekend that Governor Rick Scott’s administration imposed a gag order on Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection, ordering officials and staff to refrain from using the terms “climate change,” “global warming” or “sea-level rise.” Meanwhile, in the real world, parts of Florida—including Miami—will be underwater by the end of the century.

As you must know, Florida is at serious risk from the effects of climate change—yet you continue to disagree with 97% of scientists, NASA, and the U.S. military on this critical issue. While we’re sure this kind of partisan rhetoric may play well with your fossil fuel donors, the fact remains that Florida’s families are already feeling the impacts of climate change firsthand.

Thousands of square miles of Florida are at severe risk from sea-level rise. From the pristine coastal communities to the Everglades, Florida’s heritage is being threatened in terms of land lost and property destroyed.

That is why Americans were shocked to learn that Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection has been ordered to strip terms like “climate change” and “global warming” from any official reports, emails, or communications because it is “not a true fact.” Pretending a problem doesn’t exist won’t make it go away—Floridians deserve real leadership on this issue. “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” is not an acceptable policy stance.

This is stunningly negligent behavior by officials charged with protecting the residents of Florida. As possible presidential candidates in 2016, it is unconscionable that you would remain silent in the face of such rampant mismanagement and obfuscation in your home state. Therefore, we are calling on you to denounce this gag order on Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection in the next 48 hours. If you remain silent, your priorities will be exposed and you’ll make clear where you stand on this critical issue.

Governor Scott’s decision to play politics with Florida’s environment is endangering your state’s economy and families—the American people need to know where you stand.



Sky Gallegos

NextGen Climate


Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at [email protected]

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