DEP Secretary Valenstein and Chief Science Officer Dr. Frazer Issue Statements on the State of the State

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CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 850.245.2112,

DEP Secretary Valenstein and Chief Science Officer

Dr. Frazer Issue Statements on the State of the State 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, following Governor Ron DeSantis delivering the 2020 State of the State address in the Chamber of the Florida House of Representatives, Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein and Chief Science Officer Dr. Thomas Frazer issued the following statements: 

DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein said, "As a result of Governor DeSantis' leadership and commitment to protection of the state's natural resources, there is a true environmental movement underway in Florida. In just one short year, we have seen advancements that haven't been realized in decades. Today's State of the State outlined the Governor's continued dedication to making Florida's environment a priority.

“2019 marked exciting progress being made in protecting Florida’s environment, and Governor DeSantis recognizes that the path to preserving our natural legacy for generations to come requires a comprehensive and long-term commitment to environmental restoration. The Governor's proposed legislation and funding requests before the legislature this session provide the necessary framework and resources to ensure we are able to continue our success.”  

Chief Science Officer Dr. Thomas Frazer said, "The Governor has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to environmental restoration and water quality improvements throughout the state. Science-based decision making will be key to the success of those efforts moving forward.”

Frazer is optimistic about that prospect and pointed specifically to the Governor’s proposed water quality legislation that is based, in large part, on recommendations coming from the Blue-Green Algae Task Force. “The Governor’s proposal lays out the most progressive and comprehensive environmental reform the state has seen in more than a decade. It is refreshing and rewarding to know that science has been inserted back into the policy arena.”

Environmental Accomplishments: 

  • Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 19-12, “Achieving More Now for Florida’s Environment” less than 48 hours after being sworn into office,  outlining his bold vision to protect Florida’s environment and water quality. 
  • During Governor DeSantis’ first year in office, all of the environmental initiatives outlined in Executive Order 19-12 were completed or underway. 
  • Working with the Legislature, Governor DeSantis has achieved more than $625M for springs, Everglades restoration, targeted infrastructure improvements and investments in technology. 
  • The Governor has expedited critical Everglades restoration projects, including Tamiami Trail, C-43, C-44 and EAA Reservoirs. 
  • The Governor has made critical appointments to promote science-based solutions and increase accountability and transparency, including the Chief Science Officer and Convening of Blue-Green Algae and Red Tide Task Forces. 
  • Governor DeSantis Appointed the first statewide Chief Resilience Officer to better prepare Florida for sea level rise. 
  • To expedite water quality improvements throughout Florida, Governor DeSantis has recommended historic water quality legislation incorporating science-based recommendations from the Blue-Green Algae Task Force, and legislation to increase fines and penalties for violations of Florida’s environmental laws. 
  • The Governor transferred the Environmental Crimes Unit back to DEP to better align resources, better protect environmental resources and increase enforcement of Florida’s environmental laws. 
  • In 2019, record-level compliance inspections were performed at state wastewater facilities. This was the first time all wastewater and stormwater facilities throughout the state have been inspected in a single year. 
  • The Office of Environmental Accountability and Transparency was created 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.