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Friday, October 21, 2016

Rough draft of Gov. Rick Scott’s urgent message to all employees of the state of Florida:


Please pay no attention to recent news reports about my administration banning the use of the terms “climate change” and “global warming” in official documents, letters or emails.

There is no official ban.

All communications among state employees are routinely diverted for review by my staff members who, when appropriate, rephrase the content.

For example, residents in Miami Beach are blaming so-called climate change for raising the sea level and causing frequent flooding of streets and neighborhoods.

The crisis poses an undeniable threat to the tourism and real-estate industries, and I’ve acted swiftly. At my direction, the state Department of Environmental Protection will henceforth define the situation in Miami Beach as a “permanent high tide.”

This isn’t censorship. It’s creative editing.

As I have said many times, I’m not a scientist so I can’t say for sure that the climate is changing because of human activity. I’m also not a reader, so I am basically incapable of researching the subject on my own.

Another word I’m accused of banning is “sustainability,” which refers to the wise and measured use of environmental resources. Or so I’ve been told.

Again, there’s no official ban of that term. If someone can just explain to me what sustainability means — and, more important, what’s the darn point? — I might allow it to appear in a memo or perhaps a low-level email.

Please understand that part of my duty as governor is to polish the image of the Sunshine State, and make it a welcoming place for businesses who might want to relocate here and take advantage of our laughably low wages. We in state government shouldn’t frighten people away with alarmist speculation. Under my watch, no official documents shall ever suggest that Miami Beach is sinking underwater — not as long as a single manhole remains dry!

This editorial vigilance applies to other hot-button issues, as well.

The other day I intercepted a copy of a memo that unnecessarily contained the word “pollution,” in reference to silted waters being pumped in Biblical quantities from Lake Okeechobee toward Florida’s coastlines.

Certainly we can all agree that “pollution” is a term that has negative connotations. It implies not only that our famed wild waters aren’t clean and safe, but that somebody is at fault for “polluting” them.

As your governor I don’t like playing the blame game — and it’s got nothing to do with the fact that my re-election campaign took truckloads of money from U.S. Sugar and other companies that treat Lake Okeechobee as a septic tank.

In your official correspondence, never be shy about emphasizing our commitment to Everglades “restoration,” which is much nicer than the word “cleanup.” The latter implies past negligence.

Like “climate change” and “global warming,” the term “pollution” is constantly being twisted by the liberal media.

We don’t have pollution in Florida. We have “runoff.” We have “outfall.” Personally, I’m fond of “collateral spillage.”

It’s bad for business if state officials toss around inflammatory expressions such as “algae bloom,” when the same aquatic phenomenon could be more gently described as “decorative greening.”

Likewise, the unappealing phrase “red tide” has been overused by the wildlife officers who patrol our busy beaches. These incidents should be more benignly reported as “floating fish hospices.”

Not being a scientist, I find myself confused by tricky technical terminology like “nitrogen” and “phosphorus.” People who went to science school tell me these are real chemical elements found in the waste of farms and ranches, and unhealthy in heavy concentrations.

However, using such weird mumbo-jumbo puts Floridians on edge about what’s happening to their water. Wouldn’t it be better to focus on all the harmful chemicals that aren’t being dumped into the Everglades?

For instance, gasoline (“G” on the periodic table I was given). Water sampling shows almost no gas, leaded or unleaded, in the public aquifers. There’s some news worth spreading!

Be assured that the aim of my administration isn’t to muzzle or distort known facts. Climate change, global warming, sustainability — these are interesting theories, and I encourage all state workers to discuss them freely with your families, in the privacy of your own homes.

Again, I’m not a scientist. I’m just a governor in way over his head, and proud to be there.

Carl Hiaasen is a columnist for The Miami Herald. Readers may write to him at: 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, FL, 33132.

Governor Rick Scott visits with FWC staff and Commissioners Yablonski and Roberts on November 17, 2014 at the Bryant Building in Tallahassee, FL. (Florida Fish & Wildlife via Flickr)

  • Dominick Vila

    Scott: “Don’t believe the global warming claims and, by the way, I got the rising water levels in Miami under control.” Do people like him get paid to say stupid things, or do they think we are stupid?

    • midway54

      I’d say both. Thanks again to Florida’s large community of ignorant teabaggers and redneck yahoos (Rubio’s constituency, too) this hairless cipher is back in office to burden and embarrass the State. At the same the plutocrats and their political flunkies love the guy.

      • oldlion

        You might also blame all the Democrats who stayed home on election day. It happens every mid-term, can’t be bothered to vote.

        • Independent1

          Not that Dems didn’t stay home, but actually, more Dems turned out than Republicans. It was gerrymandering and voter suppression that got the Republicans the wins in the red states – those are the only senate seats they won. And in the Senate elections, the Dems got 20 million more votes than the Republicans overall (and that includes wins in a few blue states), yet the Republicans took control of the Senate.

          And aside from a few governorships, the GOP lost every election issue that had to do with ballot issues – including all the personhood issues and min wage increases including in red states.

        • Daniel Jones

          independent1 has it right.
          I’m about *this far* from renaming the Republican Party Slytherin, if you want to know the truth..

    • jamcrky

      Dominick the only conclusion I have come to is that there are more stupid people than there are smart ones. It’s the same morons who got this idiot reelected.

    • Independent1

      Fortunately for southeast Florida, representatives leading 4 counties of SE FLA have been ignoring Scott for a while and have banded together to implement changes that will help combat climate change and sea-level rise. Two of the counties are led by Democrats; two by Republicans. Fortunately, they both have recognized the impending problem and have long since been working to recover and/or protect structures and shoreline that the rising seas have endangered. They recognize that Scott’s clueless and have been working around roadblocks that his administration has created. His revising the descriptions of what’s actually taking place, is fooling no one but Scott and those who are part of his administration.

      See this excerpt for more:

      It’s also at the forefront of efforts to stave that disaster off. On Dec. 9, representatives from Monroe, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties met to approve a far-reaching, bipartisan Climate Action Plan that lays out the steps local governments need to take, working together, to make sure the region’s water supplies, transportation networks, buildings and other infrastructure can withstand the coming changes.

      “We recognize each others’ differences,” says Susanne Torriente, Fort Lauderdale’s assistant city manager and the former director of sustainability for Miami-Dade County, “but also recognize that if we work together we can make South Florida more resilient.”

  • adler56

    It’s amazing to me that so many Republicans are providing careers for Democrats who simply repeat their words in places where people with a functioning brain are likely to read them. In this article Mr. Hiaasen follows in the footsteps of Bill Maher and Jon Stuart
    in outing the brain dead ramblings of someone totally unqualified for the position he holds. Anyone who voted for this skinead should be punished.

    • Milord Cutter

      Everyone who voted for Gov. Voldemort is already being punished. They live here under his odious administration.

  • jamcrky

    We have a responsibility to give the following generations a planet that is worth living in, but when i read this stuff from these freaking morons I can’t believe that they are so irresponsible. They would refer to play politics over the well being of future generations.

  • howa4x

    It doesn’t matter what they say and how they try to play it out, climate change is real and 98% of climate scientists agree. Only people who lack real intelligence to understand basic science are deniers, and others are cynical manipulators like Scott who work for powerful energy interests who are more interested in preserving profits than a continuation of the species. Sea level is rising all over the world and in 2 years this dramatic change will be the only conversation people will be having. The shift in the jet stream has caused record snow fall in the deep south, and this will not be a 1 time event but a fixture of life in the new age of intense storms, hurricanes, tornados, and cyclones. In other areas extreme drought will be the norm. Calif is experiencing the worst one in history, and states like Texas, Arizona will run out of water in the next ten years. There are towns in Tx that already have and effluent from the sewer plants are being rerouted to the drinking water system. Maybe that is what it will take, a time when people in the SW of this country turn on the tap and nothing comes out. Maybe then they will think climate change is very real, and that will be the day that the denying GOP will cease to exist.

  • Wedge Shot

    Great article.

  • Wedge Shot

    I have yet to figure out why this guy in in Tallahassee and not Leavenworth.

  • Captain Dickson

    Man-made global warming cannot be proved. It’s an ever-shifting mirage of illusions conjured up to exploit the sympathies of the ignorant.

    • Wedge Shot

      Of course it can be proved. You are obviously not a scientist so the proof would be way over your head. However, in order to understand the facts you would have to remove your tinfoil hat and let the sun shine on your brain.
      The earth now has more carbon dioxide in its atmosphere than it has had in 2000 years and has taken a drastic rise since the mid 17th century..
      The oceans will rise and all of you people that don’t believe should buy oceanfront property and sit there while the ocean covers you up chanting that global warming doesn’t exist.

      • Captain Dickson

        Gravity is proven by repeatable experiment.
        Man-made global-warming is proven by nothing.

        • Wedge Shot

          You confirm that ignorance is not a virtue. If you were a scientist or could read past the 3rd grade you would find thousands of “repeated experiments” that conform global warming. You however, can’t see past your nose so any empirical evidence of global warming is lost in your myopically vision.,