This article is excerpted from Wave Maker’s News, our quarterly update on all things water in the Gulf of Mexico, check out the full newsletter here. We’re in for a tough road for the next few years in Florida if Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature don’t realize that our environment is our economy. Governor Scott has set out to aggressively gut Florida environmental regulations and government agencies that protect the environment. While agencies like the Florida Department of Environmental Protection were hardly reliable protectors of Florida’s air, land, and water in the past, something was better than nothing. With massive rollbacks of regulations and massive state employee layoffs in the works, we are entering the age of almost nothing when it comes to environmental protection.Governor Scott views safeguards of our air and water to be impediments to business development. Public agencies that protect the environment, promote ecotourism, and conserve public lands are seeing their budgets slashed and are being pushed aside as part of the push for economic development. The irony is that billions of dollars in Florida’s economy are directly linked to clean beaches, healthy fisheries, places to hunt, and wildlife viewing.What we lose we will not get back. What we pollute will cost us billions to clean up across the state over time. When endangered species disappear it will be forever. Florida can be a national model for connecting the dots and protecting our environment and economy as one interconnected entity, or we can lose what makes Florida such a wonderful place to live and visit.Darden Rice is GRN’s Florida Program Director.