Jeb Bush on Environment

Republican FL Governor; V.P. prospect


1990s: Compensate landowners; 2010s: state-run conservation

In the past, Jeb used to emphasize the rights of big landowners who felt cheated by environmental programs. Now, he is a champion of state-sponsored conservation, celebrated for his $2 billion program to restore the Everglades.

Bush insists that he will not contort himself to satisfy ideologues, but his views have already changed--in presentation, in tone, in language and, at times, in substance.

A useful case study: the environment. Before the 1994 election, Bush supported a state constitutional amendment, also backed by big corporations, to compensate landowners hurt by conservation efforts. He held out the prospect of cutting funds for a major program to purchase environmentally fragile lands and declared that "excessive regulation does not mean we are going to improve the quality of water, air or land-use planning."

But Bush met with conservation experts and toured important environmental sites across Florida. When he was elected four years later, "his heart changed," an adviser said.

Source: New York Times 2015 interview of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jan 11, 2015

Florida Forever: $1B for environmental land purchases

As Preservation 2000 came to its expiration, the Florida legislature created Florida Forever to implement its requirements. The new program produced about $300 million annually from the sale of bonds. 72% of Florida's voters supported this amendment in 1998.

As governor, Bush signed the legislation authorized by the constitutional amendment, publicly supported the program over the course of his administration, cooperated with the cabinet to expend over $1 billion in bond money on purchases of land of environmental importance to the state, and routinely used his support of this program in promoting his environmental legacy. Nevertheless, only a year after the passage of Florida Forever, the governor undercut the program, and raised questions about his commitment to environmental conservation, by raiding its funds in the amount of $75 million in order to cover budgetary shortfalls that he was unwilling to raise taxes to cover.

Source: Aggressive Conservatism in Florida, by Robert Crew, p.155 , Dec 11, 2009

Everglades are "crown jewel" of Florida environmental legacy

The largest conservation project in which Governor Bush was involved was the effort to restore the Florida Everglades. The "unwavering commitment of Governor Bush and the Florida legislature" to saving the Everglades was cited by Bush's first secretary of Environmental Protection as the "crown jewel" in Florida's environmental legacy. A mammoth undertaking, its roots in the administration of former governor Bob Graham, this legislation involved both the state of Florida and the federal government and was just the kind of big-government spending plan that Bush had deplored throughout his campaigns for office and subsequently as governor. Nevertheless, when President Clinton signed the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, Bush attended the ceremony in Washington and said, "the restoration of America's Everglades has been one of my administration's top priorities" and said later that it was THE highest environmental priority.
Source: Aggressive Conservatism in Florida, by Robert Crew, p.157-8 , Dec 11, 2009

Acceler8: $1.5B plan for Everglades restoration

Bush pushed the Florida legislature to provide the funding for Florida's contribution to the Everglades restoration and to do so in advance of federal funding for the project. This legislation was widely supported by environmental groups. Bush's support earned the governor the "Steward of the Everglades" award from the Everglades Coalition.

Governor Bush also kept additional funding promises to the Everglades. In 2004, he unveiled a $1.5 billion plan called "Acceler8" to complete 8 components of restoration, most of them water-supply reservoirs that would restore water flows 10 years ahead of schedule. The plan was financed with Wall Street bond money. And in 2005 he proposed a $200 million initiative to clean up Lake Okeechobee.

Source: Aggressive Conservatism in Florida, by Robert Crew, p.157-8 , Dec 11, 2009

Declined results of state survey to limit urban sprawl

The governor moved cautiously to redeem what had been strong growth management campaign pledges. Rather than propose initiatives, he asked the Department of Community Affairs to survey Floridians about the issues involved. The results from the survey suggested broad public support for protection of identified state interests, for a state vision and a stronger state plan, for limiting urban sprawl, for establishing urban growth boundaries, and for a "strong, wide-ranging role for the state and expanded access for citizens." Governor Bush, allegedly under pressure from the development community, declined to accept these findings and appointed instead a Growth Management Study Commission to make appropriate recommendations. Another year passed before the commission completed its report and announced support for many of the findings from the 2000 survey, but in a crucial difference recommended limiting the role of state government in regulating the growth management process.
Source: Aggressive Conservatism in Florida, by Robert Crew, p.160 , Dec 11, 2009

2004: Universal praise for handling spate of hurricanes

Jeb drew almost universal praise for his handling of the spate of hurricanes that hit Florida in 2004. All the traits that make him such a scary leader in other areas actually work to good effect, when it comes to managing disasters. He did those things that should happen when a storm strikes. Implement an effective, thorough evacuation. And, afterward, come in quickly with massive quantities of help: search and rescue teams, water, ice, food, law enforcement--in more or less that order.

A skeptical view might see this as pure political survival: the Florida hurricanes struck a broad cross section of constituents, many if not most of them white, middle class, and Republican.

This view, though, misses a key component of Jeb's personality, which is that he loves a tough challenge. He really would have responded just as vigorously if the storm had struck a predominantly black, entirely Democratic town. Katrina serves as the perfect illustration of the difference between Jeb and Big Brother.

Source: America's Next Bush, by S.V. Date, p. 21-22 , Feb 15, 2007

1,920-acre development on edge of Everglades

Jeb wanted it all hush-hush. They picked a site [for the Scripps project] at the edge of the Florida Everglades, a spot the state's huge home builders had been itching to explore for years.

This quite understandably raised the ire of some county commission members, and pretty much every environmental group in the state. Mecca Farms, the site chosen, was well beyond the county's "urban services boundary," the line the county had drawn to limit urban sprawl and protect what remained of the county's wetlands. Ramming through a 1,920-acre--that's more than 3 square miles--development out across the street from the Corbett Wildlife Management Area not only violated the county's own planning rules, but also created a precedent for every other developer wanting the same thing. How could the county tell John Doe and Sons Builders that they could not erect 3,000 homes across the street from the Everglades when the county had just done exactly the same thing for Scripps?

Source: America's Next Bush, by S.V. Date, p.144 , Feb 15, 2007

New marine sanctuary to protect the Florida Keys

We're actively conserving environmentally sensitive land. Everglades restoration is ahead of schedule and under budget. We're restoring the Loxahatchee and opening areas that have been closed for decades by pollution. Today a new marine sanctuary protects the Florida Keys, and conservation along the banks of the Suwannee spurs eco-tourism and the economies of eight rural counties.

From the River of Grass to Florida's springs to the oceans that roll up on our shores, Florida will continue to protect the natural bounty and beauty of our state. We are carefully balancing our growth and environmental protection--to create the best quality of life and business climate in the country. As a result, Florida is regularly on the short list for companies looking to expand or relocate and we are winning more of these competitions every day.

Source: 2004 State of the State speech to the Florida Legislature , Mar 2, 2004

Drilling in Gulf of Mexico hurts Florida tourism industry

The Interior Department faces opposition from Jeb Bush to its proposal to auction off rights to a six-million-acre field in the Gulf of Mexico. “I am confident,” Governor Bush wrote in a letter to the secretary of the interior, “that the new administration will recognize the need to protect sensitive natural resources located both offshore and along Florida’s coastline for the benefit of the entire nation.”

The area that Jeb Bush seeks to stop from being auctioned is not covered by the existing moratorium [on other off-shore drilling]. It actually lies off the coast of Alabama, but close enough to Florida to worry state environmentalists. “Florida’s economy is based upon tourism and other activities that depend on a clean and healthy environment,” Jeb Bush wrote in his letter to Washington. “As a result, we continue to have the nation’s best beaches, abundant fisheries, and pristine marine waters. Protection of those resources is of paramount importance to the state of Florida.”

Source: David Sanger, NY Times, p. A17 , Jan 25, 2001

Restrict Eminent Domain; most severe of all govt powers

The power of government to take property is perhaps the most severe of all governmental powers. State government must be frugal in the exercise of this power, and conscientious when it is expanded.

In this particular bill, eminent domain authority is expanded to benefit the North Broward Hospital District. This is undoubtedly a worthwhile and needed project, [and] the hospital has begun negotiations with local property owners to purchase their properties.

My objection to this well-intended bill, however, is that the hospital has begun this process [under the old rules, and] to change these rules [in the middle of the process] would not be in the spirit of fair play.

Additionally, this bill would set a dangerous precedent for one-time expansions of eminent domain authority. I believe this is a poor basis for creating new statutes. If the expansion of quick-take authority is an issue that needs addressing, the Legislature should do so as a policy debate for statewide application.

Source: Approval notification on Senate Bill 1230 , Jun 7, 2000

Let industries “self-audit”; compensate for “takings”

Source: 1998 Florida National Political Awareness Test , Jul 2, 1998

More state autonomy on brownfields & Superfund cleanups.

Bush adopted the National Governors Association position paper:

The Issue

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), otherwise known as Superfund, was created to clean up the worst hazardous waste sites across the country and to recoup expenses from responsible parties. Since the law was enacted in 1980, the Superfund program has caused significant amounts of litigation, while cleanup of hazardous waste sites has not been as fast or effective as the statute envisioned. In addition, states have not had the necessary tools or funding from the federal government to adequately clean up state sites. “Brownfields” sites—abandoned or undeveloped non-Superfund industrial or commercial sites under state jurisdiction—have gained increasing attention from Congress in recent years as passage of a comprehensive Superfund package has become increasingly unlikely.

NGA’s Position

NGA supports the reauthorization of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980. NGA policy calls for more opportunities for states to take authority for cleanup of National Priorities List (NPL) sites, increased autonomy and funding over brownfield sites, and the concurrence of a Governor before a site can be listed on the NPL.
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA15 on Aug 1, 2001

Support State Revolving Loan Fund for flexible Clean Water.

Bush adopted the National Governors Association position paper:

The Issue

The Clean Water Act (CWA) has not been reauthorized since 1987. At that time, provisions were added to address nonpoint source pollution, pollution from diffuse sources such as runoff of fertilizers and pesticides, stormwater runoff, and sediment. Governors and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) disagree on the best approach to addressing the problem of nonpoint source pollution.

NGA’s Position

NGA supports the reauthorization of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972 (the Clean Water Act). The Governors support an increased focus on watershed management planning, including funding for the State Revolving Loan Fund (SRF) and nonpoint source pollution programs. States should have the flexibility to develop plans for attaining federally approved water quality standards in impaired waters - in consultation with local government officials and stakeholders - and to allocate responsibility for cleanup among contributors. The TMDL regulations should be revised, by legislation if necessary, to give states adequate flexibility, funding, and time to address impaired waters.
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA9 on Aug 1, 2001

Supports national drought policy, focusing on readiness.

Bush signed the Southern Governors' Association resolution:

Source: Resolution of Southern Governor's Assn. on NDPC 01-SGA10 on Sep 9, 2001

Maintain water flow in Mississippi & Missouri Rivers.

Bush signed the Southern Governors' Association resolution:

Source: Resolution of Southern Governor's Assn. on Mississippi River 01-SGA14 on Feb 27, 2001

Other governors on Environment: Jeb Bush on other issues:
FL Gubernatorial:
Alexander Snitker
Charlie Crist
Rick Scott
FL Senatorial:
Bill Nelson
Marco Rubio

Gubernatorial Debates 2014:
AL: Bentley(R) vs.Griffith(D)
AR: Ross(D) vs.Hutchinson(R) vs.Griffin(R,Lt.Gov.)
AZ: Ducey(R) vs.DuVal(D) vs.Mealer(AE) vs.Gilbert(L) vs.Riggs(R)
CA: Brown(D) vs.Kashkari(R)
CO: Hickenlooper(D) vs.Beauprez(R) vs.Tancredo(R) vs.Hess(L)
CT: Malloy(D) vs.Foley(R) vs.Walker(R,Lt.Gov.)
FL: Scott(R) vs.Crist(D) vs.Snitker(L,Lt.Gov.)
GA: Deal(R) vs.Carter(D) vs.Hunt(L)
HI: Ige(D) vs.Aiona(R) vs.Abercrombie(D)
IA: Branstad(R) vs.Hatch(D) vs.Hoefling(R)
MA: Coakley(D) vs.Baker(R) &Polito(R,Lt.Gov.) vs.Grossman(D) vs.Berwick(D)
ME: LePage(R) vs.Michaud(D) vs.Cutler(I)
MI: Snyder(R) vs.Schauer(D)
NM: Martinez(R) vs.King(D)
NY: Cuomo(D) &Hochul(D,Lt.Gov.) vs.Astorino(R) vs.Hawkins(G) vs.Teachout(D)
OK: Fallin(R) vs.Dorman(D)
PA: Corbett(R) vs.Wolf(D) vs.Schwartz(D,lost primary) vs.Critz(D,Lt.Gov.,lost primary)
Newly-elected 2014:
AK-I: Bill Walker
AR-R: Asa Hutchinson
AZ-R: Doug Ducey
IL-R: Bruce Rauner
MA-R: Charlie Baker
MD-R: Larry Hogan
NE-R: Pete Ricketts
PA-D: Tom Wolf
RI-D: Gina Raimondo
TX-R: Greg Abbott

Up for re-election 2014:
AK-R: Sean Parnell
AL-R: Robert Bentley
CA-D: Jerry Brown
CO-D: John Hickenlooper
CT-D: Dan Malloy
FL-R: Rick Scott
GA-R: Nathan Deal
HI-D: Neil Abercrombie
IA-R: Terry Branstad
ID-R: Butch Otter
IL-D: Pat Quinn
KS-R: Sam Brownback
ME-R: Paul LePage
MI-R: Rick Snyder
MN-D: Mark Dayton
NH-D: Maggie Hassan
NM-R: Susana Martinez
NV-R: Brian Sandoval
NY-D: Andrew Cuomo
OH-R: John Kasich
OK-R: Mary Fallin
OR-D: John Kitzhaber
PA-R: Tom Corbett
SC-R: Nikki Haley
SD-R: Dennis Daugaard
TN-R: Bill Haslam
VT-D: Peter Shumlin
WI-R: Scott Walker
WY-R: Matt Mead
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Term-Limited or Retiring 2014:
AR-D: Mike Beebe
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MD-D: Martin O'Malley
RI-I: Linc Chafee
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Page last updated: Jan 19, 2015