Scott’s inauguration speech raises concerns among some enviros

Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday vowed to create the “most favorable business climate in the world” in Florida and issued an executive order to suspend government rule-making.

While not specifically blaming environmental permitting during his inauguration speech, he said regulation, taxation and litigation together form the “axis of unemployment.”

“Unless they are approved, regulations grow like weeds,” Scott said. “While there are some regulations that are essential for health and safety and others are essential to the protection of our priceless environment, it’s past time to demand that every regulation be re-evaluated.”

Some environmental group representatives said after the speech they were concerned. But some Republicans said the state excessive permitting can be reduced while the environment is protected.

Scott said during his inauguration speech, “All I heard during the entire campaign was the unbelievable time it took to get permits in the state. That doesn’t many any sense — and it’s going to stop.”

Eric Draper, Audubon of Florida’s executive director, said he was concerned after listening from the VIP seating outside the historic Capitol. Few other environmental group representatives attended while business and industry representatives were prevalent.

Draper said he kept listening for balance when Scott talked about getting regulations out of the way of business and job growth — but Draper said he didn’t hear that balance.

“I’m concerned — what does that mean?” Draper said. “Does that mean we’re going to change the rules? Does it just mean somebody is going to be able to get a permit faster, or (be permitted to) build a casino in the middle of a wetland?”

“That’s the stuff I’m paying attention to,” he said. “I didn’t hear a lot that gave me assurance.”

Former Gov. Jeb Bush said after the speech that environmental regulations can be enacted “thoughtfully” without killing jobs.

“There is a broad bi-partisan tradition in support of the environment,” he said. “It’s an integral part of who we are as a state. I don’t think Rick Scott is going to do things or propose things that go against that tradition.”

Story copyrighted by Bruce Ritchie and Do not copy or redistribute without permission, which can be obtained by contacting

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