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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made a couple of appointments to the South Florida Water Management District governing board on Tuesday and recommended $625M for water resources projects.
DeSantis announced the appointment of ‘Alligator Ron’ Bergeron to the South Florida Water Management District governing board during a press conference at the Everglades Holiday Park in Fort Lauderdale.
“I am extremely honored to help all Floridians to save the Florida Everglades,” Bergeron said. “…It is important to 8 million people — for quality of life — to save our environment. Important to economic growth and jobs because water is the most valuable thing on this planet,” said Bergeron.
Bergeron, a potent political and economic force in Broward County, is a former Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commissioner.
Watch Governor Ron DeSantis’ Fort Lauderdale Press conference in its entirety
His nickname ‘Alligator Ron’ is due to his alligator wrestling background.
Earlier in the day, DeSantis made a stop at Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center in Naples where he appointed Chauncey Goss to the South Florida Water Management District governing board.
“We are having a historic $625 million for water resources project including Everglades restoration,” DeSantis said.
Goss said he is committed to leaving Florida’s environment better than he found it.
“I do not think that all of our problems we have in South Florida necessarily come from the water management district, but I do know without the management district we can’t fix all the water we have in Southwest Florida,” Goss said.
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DeSantis said he is committing more budget funds to help the environment.
“This is what the people of Florida expect,” said DeSantis.
Randy Smith, a spokesman with the South Florida Water Management District said in a statement:
“The South Florida Water Management District appreciates Gov. Ron DeSantis’ leadership in making the restoration of Florida’s Everglades and the protection of its water resources such a high priority. His recommendation to allocate $625 million for state water resources projects like the Everglades Agricultural Area Storage Reservoir, as well as the actions laid out in his recent executive order, show that Gov. DeSantis is leading the charge to restore and protect Florida families, businesses and the environment.”
The governor also reaffirmed his opposition to oil drilling exploration off the coast of Florida.
Watch Governor Ron DeSantis’ Naples Press conference in its entirety
DeSantis has been following up on a campaign promises to make the environment a top priority.
Earlier this month, he announced plans to pump $2.5 billion over the next four years into water-resource projects.
At the beginning of the month, DeSantis demanded that the entire South Florida Water Management District governing board step down from their positions.
On Monday, Governor DeSantis appointed judge Laurel Lee to be Florida’s next Secretary of State.
Lee, who is from the Tampa area, is the wife of longtime Florida Senator Tom Lee.
She replaces Mike Ertel, who resigned after pictures surfaced last week of him dressed in blackface as a Hurricane Katrina victim shortly after the storm.