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ICYMI: “Scott Has Repeatedly Flip-Flopped On Offshore Oil Drilling”

Three stories, one key point: Rick Scott has a long record of supporting dangerous drilling and will say anything to advance his own political agenda.

From David Bergstein, DSCC Spokesman: “Rick Scott has and always will be a self-serving con-man. It’s unfortunate that he and his friend President Trump would manufacture a crisis to try and help his political ambitions, but in doing so they’ve shone a bright spotlight on Scott’s long record of backing oil drilling off Florida’s shores and beaches.”

**NEW** HuffPost: Florida Gov. Rick Scott Has Repeatedly Flip-Flopped On Offshore Oil Drilling.
Now the Republican is trying to burnish his green cred before running for Senate. But he has a history of bait-and-switch.
Alexander Kaufman
January 9, 2018

Key points:

  • “Invoking his mother’s death, the fierce Obamacare foe went on TV and vowed to support expansion of his state’s Medicaid program to cover one million low-income Floridians…In April 2015, Scott reversed course again, announcing his renewed opposition to the policy he’d once called “a compassionate, common-sense step forward.” PolitiFact declared the move a ‘Full Flop.’ A month later, AP reported that Scott conceded his prior support for Medicaid expansion “was all a ruse” (to win a federal waiver for Florida) ― which he later claimed was a mischaracterization of his remarks. Now Democrats and environmentalists are accusing Scott of yet another about-face in the lead-up to his widely expected challenge to Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) this year.”
  • “‘How sincere is Gov. Scott’s position on offshore drilling, on a scale of 1-10?’ said Jim Gross, executive director of Florida Defenders of the Environment, referring to Scott’s announcement last week. ‘I’d give him a zero.’”
  • “Scott has long supported drilling in and around the Sunshine State.…In May 2010, a month after BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, Scott, who was running for his first term as governor, announced his opposition to a state constitutional ban on offshore oil drilling. Meanwhile, some 200 million gallons of crude were pouring into the Gulf. That December, three months after the well was finally sealed, the newly elected governor said on CNN that he opposed then-President Barack Obama’s six-month moratorium on all deepwater offshore drilling.”
  • “In September 2011, Scott threw his support behind GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann’s plan to drill for oil in the Florida Everglades. He walked back that statement hours later. At the time, he owned a $135,000 stake in an oil services company involved in drilling in Collier County, near the Everglades ― something that didn’t become public until June 2014, when the Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald published a joint investigation.”
  • “In August 2017, when nearly all East Coast governors ― including Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) ― publicly urged the Trump administration to continue the federal ban on oil and gas leasing off their shores, Scott refused to join them.”
  • “When Interior Department officials briefed congressional staff on the administration’s new drilling plan this Monday, they included a map showing which state governments had submitted official comments on the plan when they were asked in July. Two states did not respond. But only the Scott administration did not take a position.”
  • “‘Just like the typical, self-serving politician that he is, Rick Scott will say anything to try and advance his own political ambitions,’ Bergstein, now a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, told HuffPost on Monday. ‘His long, well established record of backing drilling off Florida’s shores and beaches is as offensive to voters as his pathological and craven dishonesty.’”

The Hill: Trump drilling boost could boost Nelson’s chances in Fla.
Timothy Cama
January 9, 2018

Key points:

  • “‘Actions speak louder than words,’ said Aliki Moncrief, executive director of Florida Conservation Voters […] ‘Sen. Nelson has been taking action to defend our shores for decades. Gov. Scott is definitely Johnny-come-lately to this issue.’”
  • “Susan MacManus, a political science professor at the University of South Florida, said Nelson’s years of fighting offshore drilling will pay off in November. ‘His positions on the issue have never changed,’ she said.”
  • “Mac Stipanovich, a Republican consultant in Florida, said Scott’s ties to Trump might be his main issue when it comes to drilling. ‘The governor and senator elections are going to be a referendum on Donald Trump. To the extent that Floridians can be further incensed by the offshore drilling decision against Donald Trump, then it will be to Nelson’s benefit and disadvantage the governor,’ Stipanovich said.”

The Washington Post: Environmental issues could take center stage in Florida Senate race.
Dino Grandoni
January 8, 2018

Key points:

  • “The perception of Scott as an environmentalist only when up for election is compounded by his positions on perhaps the biggest environmental issue facing low-lying Florida: climate change.”
  • “Last year, Scott signed legislation allowing any citizen to challenge textbooks and instructional materials, including those that teach the science of global warming. His administration has reportedly maintained an unwritten policy of discouraging state employees from using the phrase ‘climate change’ in communications.”
  • “But most seriously of all, environmental critics say, his administration has left cities such as Miami and Tampa ill prepared for rising seas and stronger storms, such as those during the intense 2017 hurricane season.”
  • “‘One of the things he’s tried to do is repaint himself as an environmental governor,’ said Jerry Phillips, a former enforcement attorney at the state’s Department of Environmental Protection who now runs the Florida field office for the nonprofit group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. ‘Which is really quite amusing.’”

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DSCC Statement On Scott’s Self-Serving Publicity Stunt That Threatened Florida’s Beaches & Shores

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