The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the agency in charge of setting conservation policy and enforcing environmental laws in the state, ordered its officials not to use the term “climate change” or “global warming” in any official communications, emails, or reports.
The information was revealed Sunday by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting (FCIR), based in testimonies given by former DEP employees, consultants, volunteers and records.
“We were told not to use the terms climate change, global warming or sustainability. That message was communicated to me and my colleagues by our superiors in the Office of General Counsel,” Christopher Byrd, a former DEP worker told the FCIR in an interview.
According to reports, the “unwritten” policy went into effect after the Governor Rick Scott took office in 2011.
The Republican politician, who was re-elected in November 2014, has declined to say whether he believes in climate change caused by human activity. Last may, when asked about the issue in an interview, the politician said “I’m not ascientist.”
The DEP has denied that it has a policy on the matter and Scott’s office has not given any statement on the case.
According to U.S. environmental organizations Florida is the region most susceptible to the effects of global warming. Recent research has shown that rising sea-levels alone threatens 30 percent of the state’s beaches over the next 85 years.