Last week, Gov. Rick Scott campaigned at Capt. Anderson’s, the popular restaurant in Panama City Beach owned in part by State Rep. Jimmy Patronis. Two days later, Scott named Patronis one of Florida’s five utility regulators. It was another serving of smelly Florida politics.
Patronis has no background in energy and law, the best training for those on the Florida Public Service Commission, which Patronis joins on Jan. 1. Patronis does have experience in regulation when it comes to his time in the Florida Legislature, but that background should have disqualified him for a job in which he is supposed to balance the interests of utilities against the interests of customers.
When it comes to regulation, Patronis has tried to abolish it. Since 2009, he has become known for annually sponsoring terrible environmental bills that special interest lobbyists write. He has gutted wetlands protection and made it easier to open phosphate mines. He has tried to forbid local governments from requiring supermajority votes on large development projects. Last year, his bill again delayed the Everglades cleanup deadline, and gave sugar growers a chance to stop paying a share even if the water isn’t clean enough.