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DeSantis asks entire South Florida water management board to resign
Newly sworn-in Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Thursday asked the entire South Florida water management board to resign as part of his water policy reform.
In his second day in office, DeSantis thanked the board members for their service but said he had a "bold vision" for the board and asked the members for their immediate resignations.
"I thank you for your service to the State of Florida, but it is time for a clean reset of the leadership of the Board to focus appropriate attention on this bold vision," the governor wrote in a letter. "Therefore, I ask that each of you tender your resignation from the Board, effective immediately."
The South Florida Water Management District did not immediately respond to The Hill's request for comment on the governor's demand.
DeSantis began his restructuring of Florida management policy earlier Thursday when he signed an executive order to increase funding for Everglades restoration by $1 billion, establish an algae-specific task force, create an Office of Environmental Accountability and Transparency and appoint a chief science officer to coordinate and prioritize data.
"Our water and natural resources are the foundation of our economy and our way of life in Florida," DeSantis said.
"The protection of water resources is one of the most pressing issues facing our state. That's why today I'm taking immediate action to combat the threats which have devastated our local economies and threatened the health of our communities."
The changes are at least partly driven by Florida's red algae tide crisis.
A widespread epidemic of toxic algae blooms off the coast of the state has lead to a number of closures of Gulf Coast beaches and a state of emergency being declared by former Gov. Rick Scott (R).
The blooms kill thousands of fish and make water dangerous for humans.
Scott was booed out of a restaurant during his Senate campaign by protesters concerned with the tide's effects on tourism and marine health.
Scientists say that climate change is a leading factor for the emergence of new, larger blooms near Florida due to warming waters.
DeSantis has previously been criticized by environmental groups, like the Sierra Club, for not mentioning climate change in his environmental platform during the campaign.
During a tour of the Everglades, the governor said he's not a "climate change denier," but also took the time to say that neither is he appreciative of the "climate change believer" label, according to the Orlando Weekly.