Noah Valenstein, Secretary for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), recently announced his resignation after serving in the position for almost four years.
Valenstein has worked for the Department under former Governor Rick Scott and current Governor, Ron DeSantis, who was informed about Valenstein’s decision on May 8th. On June 4th, Valenstein’s spot will be filled by Shawn Hamilton as interim DEP secretary.
Valenstein began his career as chief policy lobbyist for the DEP where he built then Governor Rick Scott’s platform on conservation and environmental protection that would assist Scott’s re-election in 2014. Valenstein’s prior success as a lobbyist contributed to the high praise he earned from the Florida cabinet after he became secretary in 2017 and reappointed in 2019.
Even with success in the position, Valenstein said in a statement that it was time for him to step down after DeSantis signed two bills in early May (SB 1954 and SB 2514) that established the largest budget in Florida’s history for environmental protection, and also because he knows that “the agency can and will maintain this momentum under the new DEP secretary.”
Hamilton has been with the DEP since 2007 where he began as the agency’s public affairs manager for the Northwest District Office. He then became Assistant District Director in 2010 and became District Director a year later. Hamilton served as District Director until he was promoted to Deputy Director of the DEP’s Northwest District and Secretary for the DEP’s land and recreation division.
Although his future is unknown, Valenstein did state in his resignation letter to DeSantis that he looks forward to “continuing to serve in the environmental community” and is “excited to see the next steps as this environmental movement continues.”
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Casey Owens is a writer at The Florida Capital Star. Follow him on Twitter at @cowensreports. Email tips to [email protected]