Florida to Workers: Don't Say 'Climate Change'

'Nuisance flooding' suggested instead of 'sea-level rise'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 9, 2015 4:09 AM CDT
Florida to Workers: Don't Say 'Climate Change'
A parrotfish is shown swimming over a dead coral reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

At Florida's Department of Environmental Protection, employees whose jobs include preparing for the effects of climate change and sea-level rise say life got a little tougher after Rick Scott took office in 2011 and the use of terms like "climate change," "global warming," and "sea-level rise" was banned. Past and present DEP employees say the "unwritten" policy has been bad for educational efforts and public policy, according to the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting. One former employee tells the FCIR that she was told orders had come down from the governor's office that they were "not allowed to discuss anything that was not a true fact" and the terms should be avoided. She says a suggested replacement for "sea-level rise" was "nuisance flooding."

A former attorney with the DEP’s Office of General Counsel tells FCIR that "sustainability" was also on the list of terms he was told not to use in meetings or on state documents; he thinks the issue is about more than just a dispute of phrasing, it is "an indication that the political leadership in the state of Florida is not willing to address these issues and face the music when it comes to the challenges that climate change presents." Gov. Scott, a Republican who was re-elected last year, refuses to say whether he thinks there is a link between human activity and climate change, and has said, "I'm not a scientist" when asked about it, the Guardian reports. (GOP Sen. Jim Inhofe brought a snowball to the Senate to make a point on the subject recently.)

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