Rick Scott tries to flip climate script with new environment focus

In an attempt to quell the barrage of attacks against his skepticism of climate change, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) plans to push environmental protections, according to his campaign.

The Associated Press reports that Scott's campaign said the governor will increase the state's spending on the environment if he is reelected. 

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Scott is in the midst of a tough reelection battle against Democratic candidate Charlie Crist, who has sought to distance himself from Scott on climate change issues.

Crist recently touted his belief in man-made climate change, and blasted Scott for not meeting with climate scientists from universities across Florida. Scott had said members of his staff planned to meet with the scientists.

But Scott will try to flip the script on Monday, the AP reports, when he rolls out a substantial environmental platform during campaign stops across Martin County.

The "Let's Keep Florida Beautiful" package Scott plans to unveil, will dedicate $500 million to springs restoration over the next 10 years, and $500 million to develop alternative water supplies over the same period.

Scott also plans to focus on polluters by increasing fines on "bad actors" that violate permits, AP reports, signaling a turn from his 2010 campaign platform.

Scott is also considering tougher standards for energy companies to secure permits if they have repeatedly harmed the environment.

"Florida's natural beauty is a big reason why this is the best state in the country to call home," Scott said in a statement, according to AP. "Our natural resources are the foundation of our economy — they drive tourism, housing, business, and agriculture — and they deserve our long-term commitment."