A Florida state employee was reprimanded for discussing climate change and his opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline at a meeting, according to a complaint filed by the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
According to PEER, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection issued a letter of reprimand to DEP employee Barton Bibler earlier in March and allegedly ordered the employee to take two days’ leave.
The letter of reprimand from DEP said that Bibler “engaged in personal political advocacy related to the Keystone XL Pipeline.” According to the letter, when asked to provide a summary of the meeting, Bibler “gave the appearance” that the official immediate agenda “included climate change.”
According to a report from the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, Florida officials have been banned from using the terms “climate change” and “global warming” in official communications.
Bibler attended a Florida Coastal Managers Forum in February, where “climate change and sea-level rise were discussed among a mix of public attendees,” according to PEER’s complaint.
The DEP letter claims that when Bibler was asked to rewrite his meeting summary, he allegedly attached a document with the phrase “Keystone XL Pipeline” with a red circle and cross through it.
“Your actions were disrespectful, unprofessional and represent insubordination. Further occurrences of a personal agenda or unwillingness to perform duties assigned will not be tolerated,” the letter reads.
DEP spokeswoman Lauren Engel said on Wednesday that DEP has “no such policy banning the use of ‘climate change,'” according to the Palm Beach Post.