Environmental groups are giving Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Jon Steverson mixed reviews as he becomes one of the latest of Governor Rick Scott's top lieutenant's to step down.
Steverson gives no reason for stepping down in a resignation letter linked to a FloridaPolitics.com report. Audubon of Florida executive director Eric Draper says rumors of a resignation have been circulating for months.
Draper says Steverson deserves credit for pushing the 11 thousand-acre Horn Spring property purchase in North Florida, one of the biggest conservation purchases in state history. But Draper also faults Steverson for not aggressively pursuing Everglades restoration or water protection.
“Florida’s worst water crisis ever occurred over the last two years, huge toxic algae blooms in South Florida, continued destruction of Florida’s springs and a tremendous buildup of public anger.”
Rethink Energy’s Kim Ross notes Steverson’s top lieutenants were the only voices besides the industry to support a highly regulatory scheme to permit hydraulic fracturing in Florida.
“We would hope that Governor Scott would listen to the people who are very concerned about the environment and put somebody who would have environmental credibility into that office.”
Governor Rick Scott’s office released a statement praising Steverson’s service shortly after announcing Transportation Secretary Jim Boxold's resignation.