Last week, news broke that Rick Scott's Administration had ordered his agencies to refrain from using the terms "global warming, climate change, and sustainability."
Later, on an edition of "All In With Chris Hayes" on MSNBC, that same whistleblower said the term "sea level rise" was also forbidden.
Soon after, the governor who denies climate change exists because he's "not a scientist" also denied he had issued such a gag order.
Scott also claims to loathe "big government" and has made a crusade out of keeping Floridians from gaining access to health care, not to mention fighting that same battle nationwide before he decided to purchase the governor's office.
Well, a funny thing happens when all those policies collide, much like a perfect storm created in the now hostile atmosphere of climate change.
It seems that if uttered in the course of business in Scott's administration, those terms that must not be named can also get you an appointment for a mental health evaluation, something that Scott denies everyday Floridians by blocking health care from those who can't afford it.
A Florida state employee is in hot water for speaking about climate change at an official meeting and keeping notes of that discussion in official minutes, according to a complaint filed today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). In response, his superiors at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued him a letter of reprimand, ordered him to take two days leave and then told him not to return until he had medical clearance of his fitness for duty.
Barton Bibler is a long-time DEP employee who now serves as Land Management Plan Coordinator in its Division of State Lands. He attended a Florida Coastal Managers Forum on February 27, 2015 at which climate change and sea-level rise were discussed among a mix of public attendees. Mr. Bibler’s official notes on this meeting reflected all of that discussion. He was directed to remove any hot button issues, especially explicit references to climate change, and then was given a letter of reprimand for supposedly misrepresenting that the “official meeting agenda included climate change.”
As he was given the reprimand on March 9th, Mr. Bibler was told to not return to work for two days which would be charged against his personal leave time. Two days later he received a “Medical Release Form” requiring that his doctor supply the DEP with an evaluation of unspecified “medical condition and behavior” issues before being allowed to return to work.
PEER (Public Employees For Environmental Responsibility) is now asking the DEP Office of Inspector General to launch an investigation into Bibler's allegations.
There's also this, from PEER's press release:
“Bart Bibler has fallen through a professional looking glass in a Florida where the words ‘climate change’ may not be uttered, or even worse, written down,” stated Florida PEER Director Jerry Phillips, a former DEP attorney, pointing out that Bart Bibler has no idea whether he will ever be allowed to return to work. “If anyone needs mental health screening it is Governor Rick Scott and other officials telling state workers to pretend that climate change and sea-level rise do not exist.”
Yes, millions of people in Florida, nationwide, and around the world couldn't agree more. It's those who deny reality as it swirls around their ankles, especially those who govern one of the states who will suffer the most from doing nothing about climate change, much less speaking the words, who some might say have earned a trip to a rubber room rather than those who merely take notes at a climate change meeting.
Then of course, there's another term altogether to describe those elected officials who deny climate change at the expense of others AND who take donations, trips, and profits from those very same industries who are hastening the point of no return for the environment.
Use your imagination.