NextGen Climate rally targets Rick Scott before gubernatorial debate

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As Governor Rick Scott was preparing to debate his opponent, Charlie Crist, for the third and final time Tuesday night in Jacksonville, a group of students and environmental activists led by the group NextGen Climate was protesting his record at the Duval County Supervisor of Elections office.

Early voting across the state began yesterday and the group is asking voters to consider Scott’s history of not supporting sustainable environmental policy and instead siding with deep-pocketed polluters.

“We can’t trust Governor Rick Scott to protect Florida’s natural resources. He pushed through a permit allowing Georgia-Pacific to pollute the St. Johns River,” said State Senator Audrey Gibson.  “Why does Governor Scott support big corporations that pollute our waterways, instead of promoting renewable energy sources like solar?”

Gibson is referring to an agreement allowing Georgia-Pacific to pipe wastewater into the river. That specific subject didn’t come up during the debate between Scott and Crist, but Scott did skirt questions regarding climate change.

“Governor Rick Scott does not acknowledge the science of climate change. We need leaders that acknowledge the science that says climate change is a real and urgent concern,” Local student, Sabina Ross said.

Scott instead pointed to funding for project to make improvements in areas like the Everglades. Those projects are considered reactive, however, instead of proactive.

NextGen Climate was started by investor and philanthropist Tom Steyer in 2013 to prevent climate disaster through political action. The group has been active against Gov. Rick Scott. The group funded several anti-Scott ads targeting him for allowing Duke Energy to continue charging customers for two cancelled nuclear projects. Politifact rated the group’s claims in a T.V. ad half true because, though Scott does have a say in who serves on it, it’s the Florida Public Service Commission that makes those decisions.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email [email protected]