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Is GOP on board with DeSantis’ environmental reforms?

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Ron DeSantis used his opening week in office to underscore a campaign pledge to tackle Florida’s deepening environmental problems, with the former Navy lawyer saying he wanted the state on a “war footing.”

But signs are emerging that fellow Republicans in the state Legislature may be considering a more narrow approach — one some critics dismiss as a mere skirmish against the enemies of red tide and toxic algae that fouled both coasts.

“The public wants us to take on the entire problem and that’s what we should be doing,” said Rep. Thad Altman, R-Merritt Island, whose Brevard County district was plagued by “brown tide” last spring and summer, an algae bloom which caused massive fish kills.

“Blaming one thing for these problems and saying that’s all we have to do is wrong. It’s a diversion,” he added.

The day after DeSantis was sworn-in as governor, a state Senate panel heard a presentation from Florida Atlantic University research scientist Brian Lapointe, who attributes much of the state’s water woes to the 2.6 million septic tanks in use.

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