The following are my notes, images, and basic outline for my presentation to the CRC Executive Committee for P24, Creating a Commissioner of Environmental Protection. I will present on January 11th at 11am. JTL
CRC Executive Committee Agenda: https://www.flcrc.gov/Committees/EX/ExpandedAgenda/141
To write to members of Exec. Committee in support or with concerns: https://www.flcrc.gov/Committees/EX/
~”Florida has this magical thing— that one person can make a difference…” CRC Chair Carlos Beruff, 4-12-17, interview, Florida Channel
~2 members of the public verbally presented the idea of Commissioner of Environmental Protection thus a Cabinet position for the environment during the CRC Public Hearings that took place across the state in 2017.
~Public Proposal 700012 was submitted in written form by Mr Gamez below:
PUB 700012: To Make a Broader Approach to Protecting the Environment by Carlos Gamez
ARTICLE IV: EXECUTIVE, New Section. Catchline: Department of Environmental Protection The Legislature may create a department of Environmental Protection and prescribe its duties. The provisions governing the administration of the department must comply with Section 6 of Article VI of the State Constitution.
This led to P24, sponsored by JTL .The people were the inspiration for this proposal.
CRC - 2017 P 24
By Commissioner Thurlow-Lippisch
1 A proposal to amend
2 Sections 3 and 4 of Article IV and create a new
3 section in Article XII of the State Constitution to
4 establish the office of Commissioner of Environmental
5 Protection as a statewide elected officer, to provide
6 duties of the commissioner, and to include the
7 commissioner as a member of the Cabinet.
9 Be It Proposed by the Constitution Revision Commission of
12 Sections 3 and 4 of Article IV of the State Constitution
13 are amended to read:
14 ARTICLE IV
16 SECTION 3. Succession to office of governor; acting
18 (a) Upon vacancy in the office of governor, the lieutenant
19 governor shall become governor. Further succession to the office
20 of governor shall be prescribed by law. A successor shall serve
21 for the remainder of the term.
22 (b) Upon impeachment of the governor and until completion
23 of trial thereof, or during the governor’s physical or mental
24 incapacity, the lieutenant governor shall act as governor.
25 Further succession as acting governor shall be prescribed by
26 law. Incapacity to serve as governor may be determined by the
27 supreme court upon due notice after docketing of a written
28 suggestion thereof by four
threecabinet members, and in such
29 case restoration of capacity shall be similarly determined after
30 docketing of written suggestion thereof by the governor, the
31 legislature or four
threecabinet members. Incapacity to serve
32 as governor may also be established by certificate filed with
33 the custodian of state records by the governor declaring
34 incapacity for physical reasons to serve as governor, and in
35 such case restoration of capacity shall be similarly
37 SECTION 4. Cabinet.—
38 (a) There shall be a cabinet composed of an attorney
39 general, a chief financial officer, a commissioner of
40 environmental protection, and a commissioner of agriculture. In
41 addition to the powers and duties specified herein, they shall
42 exercise such powers and perform such duties as may be
43 prescribed by law. In the event of a tie vote of the governor
44 and cabinet, the side on which the governor voted shall be
45 deemed to prevail.
46 (b) The attorney general shall be the chief state legal
47 officer. There is created in the office of the attorney general
48 the position of statewide prosecutor. The statewide prosecutor
49 shall have concurrent jurisdiction with the state attorneys to
50 prosecute violations of criminal laws occurring or having
51 occurred, in two or more judicial circuits as part of a related
52 transaction, or when any such offense is affecting or has
53 affected two or more judicial circuits as provided by general
54 law. The statewide prosecutor shall be appointed by the attorney
55 general from not less than three persons nominated by the
56 judicial nominating commission for the supreme court, or as
57 otherwise provided by general law.
58 (c) The chief financial officer shall serve as the chief
59 fiscal officer of the state, and shall settle and approve
60 accounts against the state, and shall keep all state funds and
62 (d) The commissioner of environmental protection shall have
63 supervision of matters pertaining to environmental protection
64 that the Department of Environmental Protection or its successor
65 agency and water management districts are required or authorized
66 by law to implement and administer.
67 (e) The commissioner of agriculture shall have supervision
68 of matters pertaining to agriculture except as otherwise
69 provided by law.
(e)The governor as chair, the chief financial officer,
71 and the attorney general shall constitute the state board of
72 administration, which shall succeed to all the power, control,
73 and authority of the state board of administration established
74 pursuant to Article IX, Section 16 of the Constitution of 1885,
75 and which shall continue as a body at least for the life of
76 Article XII, Section 9(c).
(f)The governor as chair, the chief financial officer,
78 the attorney general, the commissioner of environmental
79 protection, and the commissioner of agriculture shall constitute
80 the trustees of the internal improvement trust fund and the land
81 acquisition trust fund as provided by law.
(g)The governor as chair, the chief financial officer,
83 the attorney general, the commissioner of environmental
84 protection, and the commissioner of agriculture shall constitute
85 the agency head of the Department of Law Enforcement.
87 A new section is added to Article XII of the State
88 Constitution to read:
89 ARTICLE XII
91 Recomposition of the cabinet; commissioner of environmental
92 protection.—The amendment to Section 4 of Article IV relating to
93 the election of the commissioner of environmental protection and
94 the inclusion of the commissioner as a member of the cabinet
95 shall take effect January 3, 2023, but shall govern with respect
96 to the qualifying for and the holding of the primary and general
97 elections for the office of commissioner of environmental
98 protection in 2022.
THE TIME IS NOW for the Environment to get a Seat at the Table.
Florida Chamber’s population growth projections: 6,000,000 more people for a population of 26,000,000 people by 2030…
1000 Friends of Florida “A Population Distribution Scenario for the State of Florida” 2060. This shows the areas projected to become the most populated highly impacting natural lands and water resources.
FEGN- Florida Ecological Green Network Priorities, 2016. This map shows the importance of creating a priorities for Wildlife Corridor creation in the growing state of Florida. Done correctly we can have both growth and connected lands for wildlife and water. But we must plan now for the next 20 years and beyond. We will never have this chance again.
Florida Department of Environmental Protection map below shows Impaired Waters of the State: 53% Rivers; 82% Lakes; 32% Estuaries. This doesn’t even mention our very impacted and magnitude lessened springs.
Water management districts have individual governing boards but the Department of Environmental Protection may exercise general supervisory authority over water management districts (s. 373.026(7), Florida Statutes). I think “may” in this sentence needs to be reinterpreted. It is too weak for today’s pressures.
Creating a Comr. of Environmental Protection would elevate today’s “Department of Environmental Protection” giving it more autonomy and less impact from the often destructive and brutal pendulum swings of politics.
Agriculture already has a Cabinet seat and has a Dept of Water Quality that oversees Best Management Practices. Why shouldn’t the environment be on equal footing with Agriculture? The environment and Florida’s tourism industry are the number one income generator of the state, agriculture claims the number two spot.
We must note that since the last CRC in 1998, our waters have become even more impaired and our lands purchases are not always well represented to the Legislature or mindful of the importance of “connectedness.” Having a Commissioner of Environmental Protection would give us leadership for a higher standard, better communication, and better success for all the public to see.
Would the people of Florida support a Commissioner of Environmental Protection? Absolutely. The people of Florida have spoke loudly in 2014. Amendment 1, 2014 now in the Florida Constitution as Art X, Sec. 28 continues to be controversial as the legislature resented what they saw as forced direction of appropriations/money. Nonetheless, it was the will of the people. A Commissioner of Environmental Protection could help ameliorate this situation with the State Legislature and and the public.
*October 2016 Poll: “Top Concerns of Floridians are economy and environment.”~ Miami Herald. (Water related problems top concern 34%; 20% Loss of Natural Lands for Wildlife second.) “The focus on the environment as top concern behind the economy should not surprise anyone who has lived in Florida…Florida’s economy has long been closely linked to its environmental assets.”
We must think about this….
If we lose the magic, if will don’t protect our environment and the people’s love of it, we lose “Florida,” killing our Goose that lays our Golden Egg…
“A cottager and his wife had a Hen that laid a golden egg every day. They supposed that the Hen must contain a great lump of gold in its inside, and in order to get the gold they killed her. Having done so, they found to their surprise that the Hen differed in no respect from their other hens. The foolish pair, thus hoping to become rich all at once, deprived themselves of the gain of which they were assured day by day…” Aesop’s Fables
The need for Leadership; Give the Environment a Seat at the Table with a Florida Cabinet member; CRC can put P24 on the 2018 ballot and allow the electorate to vote for a Commissioner of Environmental Protection in 2022. Save the Florida Goose.
Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch is a member of the 2018 Constitution Revision Commission: https://www.flcrc.gov/Commissioners/Thurlow-Lippisch