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Gov. Ron DeSantis signs new environmental laws at Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach

State 'not going back to closing things' as coronavirus cases climb, governor says
Gov. Ron DeSantis
Posted at 10:46 AM, Jun 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-30 18:09:05-04

JUNO BEACH, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis held a news conference Tuesday afternoon in Juno Beach to highlight the passage of new laws to protect Florida's environment.

Speaking at Loggerhead Marinelife Center, DeSantis signed two bills into law for environmental accountability and water quality.

"[One bill is] a database comprehensive bill to protect and improve water quality that addressed all major sources of nutrient pollution, and then (the second) bill increases civil and administrative penalties for environmental crimes to create a meaningful deterrent for polluters. That includes a lot of municipalities, not just private industries," said DeSantis.

He also reiterated that one of his top priorities when he took office was to improve water quality for Floridians and the environment.

The visit to Juno Beach comes a day after DeSantis signed a $92.2 billion budget that included more than $625 million for Everglades restoration and the protection of water resources.

More than $322 million will go toward Everglades restoration projects, $50 million for springs restoration, $160 million for targeted water quality improvements, $40 million for alternative water supply, and $25 million to combat harmful algal blooms and red tide.

Gov. Ron DeSantis
Gov. Ron DeSantis signs the Environmental Accountability bill into law during a visit to Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach on June 30, 2020.

Next year's budget also includes $100 million for Florida Forever, the state's acquisition program to preserve natural resources.

The governor was joined by first lady Casey DeSantis and Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein.

DeSantis also addressed the increase in coronavirus cases and said Florida is "well-positioned for whatever comes down the pike."

"Hospitals have a lot of capacity," said the governor.

He said the emphasis should be "protecting the vulnerable" and advised people at less risk to limit contact with people 65 years and older.

"We are not going back to closing things. I don't think that is what is driving (the increase in coronavirus cases.) People going to businesses is not what is driving it," said DeSantis.