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How Florida GOP candidates stand on environmental issues

Look at viewpoints of Adam Putnam, Ron DeSantis on Sunshine State's natural uses

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – If you're still undecided as to who you want the Sunshine State's next governor to be, News4Jax has examined where the two major Republican candidates stand on Florida's most pressing environmental issues to help you make your decision before you head to the polls.

Issue 1: JaxPort dredging

Despite pushback from environmental groups, such as the St. Johns Riverkeeper, both Ron DeSantis and Adam Putnam say they'll maintain Gov. Rick Scott's position to support dredging at the mouth of the St. Johns River.

Issue 2: Offshore oil drilling

It's issue supported by President Donald Trump, but not Scott. It appears they 're both on Scott's side and oppose oil drilling off the Florida coast.

Earlier this year, Putnam gave this statement to the Tampa Bay Times, saying in part, "I have grave concerns about drilling off of Florida's coastlines. Our state's economy is directly tied to the beauty and health of our coast, and we must protect our coastline from offshore drilling."

Last year DeSantis voted for a congressional bill that would have banned offshore oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. The bill later failed.

Issue 3: Red tide outbreak

The outbreak of the red tide is caused by the toxic algae blooms, which impact waterways, health and marine life.

During a recent debate seen on Channel 4, DeSantis criticized Putnam for being what he called, too close to Florida’s sugar industry. 

DeSantis charged that Putman wouldn't stop sugar farmer's from discharging water into Lake Okeechobee -- a factor that can lead to algae growth. 

Putnam said during the early August debate, "I think that you can take everything that my opponent knows about water and put it on your sticky note and still have room leftover for your grocery list.

"Adam is basically the errand boy for U.S. Sugar," DeSantis responded, "he is going to stand with them time and time again."

Putnam says the state should address water quantity and quality by establishing water-flow levels for springs and set guidelines for water management districts and for farmers. 

DeSantis says if he’s elected he'd stop water discharges into the lake while also prioritizing the investigation into what causes algae growth and red tide.

News4Jax will take a closer look at the major Democratic gubernatorial candidates' positions on the same environmental issues at 6 p.m. Friday on Channel 4.