The current executive director of the Suwannee River Water Management District will be Florida’s next environmental secretary.
Noah Valenstein, the man who was responsible for developing Gov. Rick Scott’s conservation plan in the last election, was chosen today by Scott and members of the Florida Cabinet to be the next secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection.
“Throughout his entire career, Noah has demonstrated an unyielding commitment to protecting our state’s incredible and diverse natural treasures,” Scott said. “As a native Floridian, Noah knows firsthand how important our natural resources are to our families and visitors, and he understands that we must work each day to protect our environment on behalf of our future generations.”
Valenstein, who grew up in Alachua County, credits his years of enjoying the springs and scenic rivers of north Florida for his passion for the environment.
“It’s those resources that frame who I am as a person today,” Valenstein told the governor and the Cabinet. “Like countless Floridians and many visitors to this state, one of the greatest past times I have had with my family is enjoying our state park system and being outdoors.”
Environmentalists applaud the selection of Valenstein saying he understands what is needed to tackle Florida’s water problems.
“In his interest to solve Florida’s water problems, as he said, you need to bring together business, agriculture, conservation stakeholders, get us all at the table. Think through what the solutions are going to be. Think about how to finance them and then advance the solutions,” said Eric Draper with Florida Audubon.
“Floridians are incredibly impassioned about their environment,” Valenstein told the governor and Cabinet. “We may not all view it the same. I think that’s the most important thing to understand.”
Valenstein served three years as Scott’s policy coordinator for energy, agriculture and the environment before going off to serve in the governor’s reelection campaign.
He will assume the duties of the secretary of the Department Environmental Protection next month at a salary of $150,000.
Valenstein received his undergraduate degree in environmental policy from the University of Florida. He received a law degree from Florida State University.