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Rick Scott says climate change gag policy not true, Dems continue to bash

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Gov. Rick Scott is denying there was a policy banning the use of the term climate change at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection as Democrats Tuesday continued to hammer him on the issue.

Over the weekend, the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting reported there was an unwritten policy “distributed verbally statewide” at DEP banning the terms climate change or global warming.

The report said four former employees confirmed the existence of the policy. DEP and the governor’s office denied there was such a policy.

“First off, that’s untrue,” Scott told reporters on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that a researcher conducting a study for the Department of Health was cautioned by a bureau chief against referring to climate change.

On Monday, POLITICO reported that Scott wouldn’t discuss climate change policy at all with reporters as he changed the focus to discuss Everglades restoration projects, the settling of an Everglades restoration lawsuit, beach re-nourishment programs and initiatives to protect Florida’s springs.

He did so again on Tuesday.

“At our Department of Environmental Protection, there are lots of conversations about this issue,” he said after a Cabinet meeting. “From my standpoint, like every issue, my goal is instead of talking about it let’s do something about it.”

Meanwhile, Joshua Karp, communications director of the Florida Democratic Party, sent out an email with links to more than 25 stories in national media about the issue.

“Rick Scott’s gag order on the Department of Environmental Protection — the bury your head in the quickly-vanishing sand policy — has made headlines, well, just about everywhere…”

Bruce Ritchie (@bruceritchie) covers environment, energy and growth management in Tallahassee. 

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