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New DEP Secretary Hailed As Consensus Builder

James Clarke Ash

Conservation groups, Governor Rick Scott and Cabinet members are praising Florida’s newest top environmental regulator, Noah Valenstein, as a consensus builder dedicated to public service.

Valenstein oversaw the restructuring of the Suwannee River Water Management District and before that, served as Scott’s environmental policy coordinator.

The Florida State University law school grad also worked at the Everglades Foundation, where he earned the lasting admiration of general counsel Anna Upton.

“People come here from all over the world to experience our beaches, our springs, our beautiful parks and of course, our Everglades. Noah understands that a healthy environment provides a base for a healthy economy.”

Audubon of Florida’s Eric Draper says his friend has a remarkable ability to get environmental activists and agricultural interests to agree.  

“At the water management district we just saw him do remarkable things in terms of building consensus around water issues, water quality issues and water supply issues.”

Former DEP Secretary Jon Steverson  resigned in January following controversies over legal fees and toxic spill notification. Valenstein will be paid $150,000 a year.