DEP Secretary Valenstein Issues Statement on the State of the State

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CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 850.245.2112,

DEP Secretary Valenstein Issues Statement on
the State of the State

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, following Governor Ron DeSantis delivering the 2019 State of the State address in the Chamber of the Florida House of Representatives, Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein issued the following statement:

Secretary Valenstein said, “It was great to hear today from Governor DeSantis on the State of the State, the issues we’re facing, and his bold vision for the future. It’s clear that the Governor and his team understand the urgency behind restoring Florida’s water quality, and thanks to their leadership, I am confident we can protect Florida together. On behalf of the department, I’d like to thank the Governor for his strong commitment to achieving more now for Florida’s environment – the foundation of our economy and our way of life.

“In just two short months, the Governor has swiftly demonstrated that Florida’s environment is a priority, and that accountability, transparency, collaboration, and sound science are essential to ensuring Florida’s environment is protected now and for future generations.”

Environmental Accomplishments Since January 8

  • Less than 48 hours after being sworn in, Governor Ron DeSantis issued an Executive Order outlining his bold vision to achieve more now for Florida’s environment.
  • Governor DeSantis requested the resignations of South Florida Water Management District Board Members and has since appointed eight new members.
  • Governor DeSantis recommended to the Legislature a more than $4 billion investment to protect our environment, agriculture and natural resources, including nearly $1.9 billion specifically for the DEP. This budget recommendation includes an unprecedented $360 million for Everglades Restoration.
  • Governor DeSantis sent a letter to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Colonel Andrew Kelly requesting that the USACE engage with stakeholders throughout South Florida as they make updates to the management of Lake Okeechobee and schedule releases.
  • Governor DeSantis, along with U.S. Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, sent a letter to President Donald Trump requesting the prioritization of the $200 million annual commitment from the Federal Government for its portion of Everglades Restoration.
  • Governor DeSantis appointed Noah Valenstein as secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, which was unanimously confirmed by the Florida Cabinet.
  • Governor DeSantis has held seven environmental events.
  • Governor DeSantis announced he would appoint a Chief Resiliency Officer to be housed in the Executive Office of the Governor and DEP has begun searching for individuals for the Governor to consider.
  • DEP filed a Motion for Rehearing and a Request to Certify the case to the Florida Supreme Court regarding the recent opinion reversing the Department’s decision to deny the Kanter Real Estate exploratory oil drilling permit in the Everglades.
  • DEP established the Office of Environmental Accountability and Transparency to ensure key water quality objectives are clearly communicated to the public, as well as, organize agency resources and scientific expertise, data and research to focus on and solve complex water quality challenges.
  • DEP initiated a worldwide search for the Chief Science Officer and received 22 applications to date.
  • DEP established the Blue-Green Algae Task Force and initiated search to select members, including sending letters to state universities to encourage Florida’s academic leaders to participate.
  • DEP directed each Water Management District to prioritize its budget to reflect the vision laid out by Governor DeSantis in his Executive Order and to increase collaboration, transparency and accountability.
  • DEP participated in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers public meeting regarding updates to the Lake Okeechobee Release Schedule.
  • DEP, DEO and VISIT Florida have initiated work to increase green infrastructure collaboration.
  • DEP restructured to establish the Office of Resiliency and Coastal Protection.
  • DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein testified before the Florida Congressional Delegation regarding the state's important water concerns and solutions.