The award, announced via email last week, is being given to Scott later this year by the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida, which functions as a support group for the state's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which is run by gubernatorial appointees. In the announcement, the foundation's chairman, Miami real estate developer and lobbyist Rodney Barreto, hailed Scott for being "instrumental in helping develop a strong connection between fish and wildlife conservation and traditional outdoor activities like hunting and especially fishing."
Scott has cut funding for the state's water districts, vetoed funding for all the state's regional planning councils, and eliminated money for a University of Florida lab considered key to stopping invasive species from ruining the state's agriculture and environment. In addition, Scott's Department of Environmental Protection has shifted away from punishing polluters with fines and other penalties to instead assisting polluters with getting back into compliance. Scott praised the DEP last year for cutting the amount of time it takes to get a permit to a mere two days -- down from 44 days when Jeb Bush was governor. Scott's DEP has also made several controversial moves to alter the award-winning state park system -- selling off some land as surplus, for instance, or opening some parks to timber harvesting and cattle grazing or even hunting.