DeSantis's Alignment With Progressive Enviro Groups Appears on Shaky Ground

DeSantis's Alignment With Progressive Enviro Groups Appears on Shaky Ground

Jackson Bakich
Jackson Bakich
May 30, 2023

Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) quietly signed Senate Bill 540 – a bill that has been designated the “worst environmental bill” in the Florida Legislature this year by the environmental group, Friends of the Everglades. This drew the attention of Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) who gave her thoughts concerning the governor’s signature.

The bill states that “the prevailing party in a challenge…is entitled to recover attorney fees and costs in challenging or defending a plan or plan amendment, including reasonable appellate attorney fees and costs.”

According to WQCS, requiring losing parties to pay legal fees could “end citizen challenges to questioned developments.”

The Friends of the Everglades group stated that this action by the governor “defies the spirit of DeSantis.”

“Signing SB 540 into law defies the spirit of DeSantis’ own Executive Order 23-06, which called for protecting the long-term planning process that safeguards sustainable growth in Florida. And it will embolden developers to propose more environmentally perilous projects,” the group stated.

The group would mention later on that this move is a “step backwards” for the Sunshine State.

“This bill now makes it almost impossible for citizens to bring legal challenges against environmentally dangerous projects, such as the South Dade Logistics and Technology District that we fought in Miami-Dade County. This denial of public participation by way of excessive financial barriers will have far-reaching implications for water and the Everglades and is a disappointing step backwards for Florida.”

Rep. Wasserman Schultz, however, believes that Gov. DeSantis never cared about the environment at all.

“Don’t believe for a second that Ron DeSantis cares about Florida’s environment. He does not and just proved it.”

In January, DeSantis announced an executive order which included $3.5 billion towards Everglades restoration and protection of Florida water resources, according to WPTV.

"Four years ago, I promised to pursue a bold agenda and to commit to lead Florida into a new era of stewardship for Florida's natural resources, and we delivered," stated DeSantis. "Today, I am proud to announce the next step in this administration’s continued dedication to Florida's treasured environment. This order directs funding and strategic action that will continue our momentum and enhance our ongoing efforts to expedite critical Everglades restoration projects, employ sound science to protect and restore our waterways, and fund infrastructure projects to improve water quality and safeguard Florida's water supply."

First dubbed "Florida's Green Governor" by The Floridian, DeSantis, and his green thumb have appeared to align himself with left-leaning environmental groups and coalitions tied to The Everglades Trust that sued former President Donald Trump over 200 times.

The Everglades Trust is no stranger to partisan politics. The organization regularly aligns itself with the Center for Biological Diversity, which has been a thorn in the side of the Trump Administration having sued them 220 times and has endorsed DeSantis in both of his gubernatorial campaigns.

Now, to be fair, the CBD has also recently sued DeSantis over  Piney Point toxic waste disaster in 2021.

In addition, DeSantis has also been supported by billionaire Paul Tudor Jones, who started the Everglades Foundation (closely tied to The Everglades Trust) and has donated to DeSantis well over $100,000.

While Jones has donated to Republicans, the overwhelming majority of his campaign donations have been to Progressive Democrats, including Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D), Sens. Cory Booker and Chuck Schumer, and former Rep. Charlie Crist (D), just to name a few.

Operatives believe that it's only a matter of time before some of these environmental groups turn around and bite DeSantis.

DeSantis recently announced his bid for the White House. The first Republican Primary debate will be held in August in Milwaukee.

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Jackson Bakich

Jackson Bakich

Born in Orlando but raised in Lake County, Florida, Jackson Bakich is currently a senior at Florida State University. Growing up in the sunshine state, Bakich co-hosted the political talk radio show "Lake County Roundtable" (WLBE) and was a frequent guest for "Lake County Sports Show" (WQBQ). Currently, he is the Sports Editor of the FSView and the co-host of "Tomahawk Talk" (WVFS), a sports talk radio program covering Florida State athletics in Tallahassee.

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