Posts Tagged ‘Department of Environmental Protection’

Headlines and links to Florida Bulldog’s five years of reporting on Gov. Rick Scott

Sunday, October 28th, 2018

From a Miami reader of Florida Bulldog:
“Your series on [Gov. Rick] Scott and corruption has been terrific and significant. How about, as soon as possible, posting a summary, i.e. the headline and link to your archives, so that readers can see all the relevant stories in one place? ” A great suggestion.
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With help from investor-Gov. Scott, Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline looks to open in June

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

By Joseph A. Mann Jr.
FloridaBulldog.org
The Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline, a giant interstate project whose tail reaches over 268 miles into Florida, has generated fierce opposition as its construction moves through the state from Georgia to its end-point in Osceola County, where it is scheduled to link up to an existing gas pipeline in June.
The post With help from investor-Gov. Scott, Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline looks to open in June appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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Senate committee passes bill allowing free state park access to foster families

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Legislation requiring the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to give free access to the state’s parks for foster families was passed by legislators Wednesday.
The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources unanimously passed bill, CS-SB 64, sponsored by Sen. Aaron Bean, would waive, or offer discounted entry, into all state parks for specified and adoptive families.
The Division of Recreation and Parks within the DEP would come up with uniform documentation standards for such families to enjoy those benefits, according to the bill.
In addition, a continuing partnership between the DEP and the Department of Children and Families would be established to promote attendance to certain events in state parks by fostered and adoptive children.
The subcommittee heard no other bills Wednesday.
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Florence Snyder: Ain’t no Sunshine where Scott’s gone

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

Just in time for Sunshine Week, Tampa Bay Times environmental reporter Craig Pittman reminds us how focused, how ruthless, how relentless Gov. Rick Scott’s flacks are in their taxpayer-financed efforts to keep information out of the hands of taxpayers.
Florida’s Ministries of Disinformation have been around since the Chiles administration, but “paranoia about the press” has ramped up significantly on Scott’s watch. Here’s how Connie Bersok, who devoted 30 years of her life to protecting Florida’s fragile wetlands, described current events at Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to Pittman and Times researcher Caryn Baird:
“When I first started, if the press called, you could talk to the press, you just had to document it for your boss. Then it became: You had to get permission first, but you could still talk.
“Then it became: The press office would approve of anyone talking with a reporter, but they had to be on the line.
“And now that’s changed to: ‘You do not talk to the press.’ As a result, a lot of the information that’s expressed to the press wasn’t much information at all.”
Bersok’s now retired and able to exercise her First Amendment rights on behalf of former colleagues who don’t dare violate the government gag order for fear of joining the hundreds of DEP employees who have been disappeared since Scott took office.
Purges are always drenched in lies, especially when the purges are aimed at nationally respected professionals with decades of dedicated public service. It’s an uphill battle keeping the air fresh and the water clean in the face of relentless pressure to build high-rises and strip malls in places that God did not mean for people to live.
It’s impossible when the scientists and planners are subject to being fired with no notice and for no reason, and no amount of Florida sunshine and

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DEP responds to House records request, defends payment of legal bills

Friday, March 10th, 2017

The state’s Department of Environmental Protection on Friday night released its response to the House of Representatives’ request for documentation of the legal billing in a longstanding river water use fight against Georgia.
Interim DEP Secretary Ryan Matthews also sent a letter, saying his agency had “denied more than $3 million in expenses and hourly charges submitted by outside counsel.”
The department had planned to ask lawmakers for an additional $13 million to pay ongoing legal bills from the still-unresolved case.
The litigation already has cost the state tens of millions of dollars, and a federal court official last month ruled in favor of Georgia by recommending against tough water consumption limits on the Peach State.
Meantime, House Speaker Richard Corcoran said his chamber wouldn’t entertain any more funding for the lawyers without a detailed audit of how DEP officials spent legal money already appropriated.
The speaker also was perturbed when former Secretary Jon Steverson quit for a job at the Foley & Lardner law firm, one of the outside law firms he approved payment to.
Corcoran tasked state Reps. Dan Raulerson, a Plant City Republican, and David Richardson, a Miami Beach Democrat, with looking into the billing from outside law firms. Both men are CPAs.
Interim DEP Secretary Ryan Matthews provided House general counsel Adam Tanenbaum with the records and the letter. (The records are available via this link.)
“For 26 years and under five administrations, Florida has been fighting for its fair share of water due to Georgia’s reckless water use,” Matthews said. “Our fight is to protect our communities, marine fisheries and the vital economic impact of Apalachicola Bay which supports thousands of jobs.
“Based on (the) Latham Watkins (law firm’s) expertise, the Attorney General’s Office retained them on this case and I want to thank Attorney General Pam Bondi and her team for fighting for families in Apalachicola Bay,” he added.
The 16-year long court fight centers

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Rick Scott, state Cabinet OK Ryan Matthews as interim DEP secretary

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet on Wednesday formally approved Ryan Matthews as interim Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection.
Matthews will serve until Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam decide on a permanent replacement for outgoing Secretary Jon Steverson.
Until then, Matthews will be paid Steverson’s salary of $150,000. The panel deliberated via conference call, though Matthews was at the podium of the Capitol’s lower-level Cabinet meeting room.
Bondi said she was “impressed” with Matthews, adding “he cares deeply about our environment.”
Matthews, named deputy secretary last year, had been in charge of the department’s air, water, and waste pollution programs and for overseeing the agency’s regulatory districts.
The governor and Cabinet also decided to advertise the secretary opening until April 28, with an aim to agree on a full-time hire during the May 23 Cabinet meeting.
Steverson last month announced his resignation to join the legal-lobbying firm of Foley & Lardner.
 
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Rick Scott taps Ryan Matthews as interim DEP chief

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

Ryan Matthews will serve as the interim Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection.
Gov. Rick Scott announced Matthews appointment Tuesday, just days after FloridaPolitics.com first reported DEP Secretary Jon Steverson was resigning. Steverson’s last day is Feb. 3.
Matthews joined the DEP in 2015, serving as the Director of Office of Water Policy and most recently, serving as the deputy secretary of regulatory programs. Before joining the state agency, he was an associate legislative affairs director for the Florida League of Cities.
“Ryan’s hard work and dedication to protecting Florida’s environment have led the way to improved water quality and stronger environmental policies for Florida,” said Scott in a statement Tuesday. “I am confident that he will continue to fight to protect Florida’s pristine environment as Interim Secretary.”
According to guidelines adopted by the governor and the Cabinet, Scott is required to name an interim appointee to temporarily fill the vacancy, subject to the approval of interim appointments by the Cabinet. Scott and the Cabinet are expected to meet via phone next week to discuss the interim appointment.
The process of making a permanent appointment will also be governed by the Cabinet Governance Guidelines.
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DEP withdraws request to pay lawyers in ‘water war’

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

The Department of Environmental Protection has withdrawn a request to lawmakers for more money to pay lawyers waging a water use fight against Georgia, its spokeswoman says.
The department had planned to ask lawmakers for an additional $13 million to pay expected legal bills from the still-unresolved case. The Joint Legislative Budget Commission was scheduled to take up the request, among several others, at a 5 p.m. Tuesday meeting.
The litigation already has cost the state tens of millions of dollars—with no end in sight. A federal court official recently ordered attorneys for the two states to try again to settle the disagreement.
“DEP is working with members to provide more information on the costs associated with this litigation,” spokeswoman Lauren Engel said in a statement.
House Speaker Richard Corcoran on Monday night said his chamber wouldn’t entertain the request without a detailed audit of how DEP officials spent legal money already appropriated.
“We remain committed to being good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” she said. “The state of Florida has been fighting for nearly two decades to protect the historic flows of the Apalachicola River, and we will continue to protect Florida from the environmental and economic harms caused by Georgia’s overconsumption of water.”
DEP Secretary Jon Steverson quit last Friday, reportedly for a job at the Foley & Lardner law firm, according to a Scott spokesman. The firm still has not publicly confirmed the hire.
Foley & Lardner also is one of the firms representing the state in the 16-year long court fight over river water.
The dispute centers around upstream water use from the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers in Georgia. They meet at the Florida border to form the Apalachicola River, which empties into the Apalachicola Bay.
 
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Rick Scott not bothered by Jon Steverson’s departure

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

Gov. Rick Scott suggested he wasn’t bothered by one of his agency heads overseeing the flow of millions of dollars to a law firm that he’s now going to work for.
Scott spoke to reporters after Tuesday’s Florida Cabinet meeting.
“We have people that come to work for the state and they work hard,” Scott told reporters. “And (then) they find opportunities. That’s just part of the process.”
Jon Steverson, secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, quit last Friday, reportedly for a job at the Foley & Lardner law firm, according to a Scott spokesman. The firm still has not publicly confirmed the hire.
Foley & Lardner also is one of the firms representing the state in a nearly two-decades-old court fight with Georgia over river water use.
The dispute centers around upstream water use from the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers in Georgia. They meet at the Florida border to form the Apalachicola River, which empties into the Apalachicola Bay.
Steverson’s department is asking the Legislature for $13 million more to pay expected legal bills from the still-unresolved case. A joint committee is scheduled to take up the request later Tuesday.
But House Speaker Richard Corcoran on Monday night said his chamber won’t entertain the request without a detailed audit of how DEP officials spent legal money already appropriated.
The governor said he’s “appreciative of the people that are willing to come work with me … I know they work really hard. But when they have opportunities, they ought to go pursue them.”
Scott also defended the costs of the litigation, now approaching $100 million.
As The Associated Press has explained: “Florida blames rapid growth in metropolitan Atlanta and agriculture in south Georgia for causing low river flows that have imperiled fisheries dependent on fresh water entering the area. Georgia has argued that Florida didn’t prove its water use is to blame for the low flows and says a cap

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Richard Corcoran: House won’t OK legal money for DEP

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

House Speaker Richard Corcoran late Monday said his chamber won’t agree to hand over any more money for the Department of Environmental Protection to pay its legal bills until the agency gives a full accounting of what’s already been spent.
Corcoran was reacting to the DEP’s request to the Joint Legislative Budget Commission for an additional $13 million to pay outside legal counsel in an ongoing court fight between Georgia and Florida over water use. (Earlier story here.)
The commission is scheduled to take up the request Tuesday.
Coincidentally, DEP Secretary Jon Steverson resigned Friday and is going to work for one of the law firms, Foley & Lardner, that’s representing the state in the matter. Steverson is an attorney.
“We won’t approve the money until an audit is done and we will pass legislation barring the revolving door from agency head to lobbyist/lawyer,” Corcoran said in a statement.
The Joint Legislative Budget Commission acts as a joint committee of the Legislature, charged with reviewing and approving the equivalent of mid-course corrections to the current year’s state spending plan.
It’s made up of seven members of the state House and seven of the Senate. Of those House members, five belong to the House’s controlling Republican caucus, including commission co-chair Carlos Trujillo, who also heads the House Appropriations committee.
Earlier Monday, Trujillo told FloridaPolitics.com he would “need additional information before we can even consider approval,” noting the state will have dedicated over $100 million to legal and related fees in the water use case if the latest dollars are OK’d.
The nearly two-decade dispute centers around upstream water use from the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers in Georgia. They meet at the Florida border to form the Apalachicola River, which empties into the Apalachicola Bay.
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“Water war” could cost the state another $13M in legal fees

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

The state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has busted its outside legal expenses budget over the ongoing ‘water war’ between Georgia and Florida, legislative records show.
It’s asking for an additional $13 million from the Joint Legislative Budget Commission, which meets Tuesday — and even that may not be enough.
Gov. Rick Scott‘s office approved the request to the commission, made up of House and Senate members, for “litigation costs.”
“This increase is necessary to meet projected expenditures for outside counsel as it relates to the ongoing litigation in the Florida v. Georgia Supreme Court case for equitable apportionment of the waters of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin,” the request says.
If the extra money is approved, the state will have dedicated over $100 million to legal and related fees in the water use case, said state Rep. Carlos Trujillo, the Miami-Dade Republican who co-chairs the commission.
“I’m very concerned about the costs of this litigation and we need additional information before we can even consider approval,” added Trujillo, the House Appropriations chair. “It’s been somewhat of a surprise.”
Commission co-chair Jack Latvala, the Senate Appropriations chair, was not immediately available.
The request was submitted before DEP Secretary Jon Steverson suddenly resigned his post on Friday, giving no reason in his resignation letter to Scott, to whom he reported. His official departure date is Feb. 3.
A spokesman for Scott did not immediately comment on the request or whether it’s connected to Steverson’s leaving.
McKinley Lewis, however, told the Tampa Bay Times that Steverson was going to work for the lobbying team at the Foley & Lardner law firm, one of four firms representing the state in the water use case. The law firm did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The legal dispute focuses on water use from a watershed in western Georgia, eastern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.
The Chattahoochee and Flint rivers

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Jon Steverson resigns as DEP secretary

Friday, January 20th, 2017

Jon Steverson, the secretary of the state’s Department of Environmental Protection under Gov. Rick Scott, has resigned.
Steverson
His departure was confirmed Friday night by McKinley Lewis, Scott’s deputy communications director, who provided a copy of the resignation letter.
Steverson, whose last day will be Feb. 3, did not mention reasons for his leaving in the letter.
“I want to thank Jon Steverson for his hard work,” Scott said in a statement. “Jon has devoted his career to protecting Florida’s pristine environment and I am proud of the tremendous and historic strides we have made toward safeguarding Florida’s natural resources during his time at DEP.
“Under his leadership, we have invested in Florida’s natural lands and completed projects which will ensure protection of our springs, restoration of the Everglades and the continued enhancement of our award winning state parks for years to come.”
Lewis said the Governor’s Office will have “further announcements on this next week.”
Steverson raised hackles for, among other things, suggesting that the state allow timber harvesting and cattle grazing to help state parks boost their income.
More recently, his department took hits after a sinkhole opened on the site of the Mosaic fertilizer company in Polk County, releasing millions of gallons of toxic water into the ground.
The Florida Senate declined to confirm him in 2015, though he won Senate confirmation last January.
Steverson was previously executive director of the Northwest Florida Water Management District. Before that, he was DEP’s Special Counsel on Policy and Legislative Affairs and an acting Deputy Secretary for Water Policy and Ecosystem Restoration, according to his bio.
Steverson also served in the Executive Office of the Governor in 2005-09 in several positions, including Environmental Policy Coordinator.
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Judge invalidates pollution notification rule

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

A Florida administrative law judge says a rule requiring companies to notify the public of pollution events within 24 hours is invalid.
The new rule was pushed by Gov. Rick Scott after it took weeks for the public to be notified about a giant sinkhole at a fertilizer plant that sent millions of gallons of polluted water into the state’s main drinking water aquifer.
Administrative law judge Bram Canter on Friday ruled that the new rule, which would result in fines for companies who failed to report pollution within a day, was “an invalid exercise of delegated legislative authority.”
Five business groups – Associated Industries of Florida, Florida Farm Bureau Federation, Florida Retail Federation, Florida Trucking Association and the National Federation of Independent Business – challenged the rule in court, saying it would create excessive regulatory costs.
Scott’s office says he is reviewing the ruling and that he still believes the current rules are outdated and need to change.
The post Judge invalidates pollution notification rule appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Donald Trump likely to try to reverse Barack Obama’s environment initiatives

Friday, November 11th, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump has not minced words about his approach to environment and energy policy: He loathes regulation and wants to increase the use of coal, offshore drilling and fracking.
Trump has said he believes climate change is a hoax and that he would “cancel” U.S. involvement in the landmark Paris Agreement on global warming.
While he’s been vague about precise policies, Trump’s election likely means trouble for some of President Barack Obama‘s signature environmental initiatives, environmentalists and policy analysts say.
They say it’s probable that Trump’s administration will seek to weaken or kill the Clean Power Plan, a cornerstone Obama policy meant to reduce carbon pollution from the nation’s power plants as part of an effort to combat climate change.
The Clean Power Plan is being challenged in federal court, and if it survives, Trump could move to scuttle it. But not without a fight.
“We don’t consider the CPP dead. We have many tools to help preserve it,” said David Goldston, director of government affairs for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “He can’t just snap his fingers and wish away regulations. There’d be a backlash, which would make Congress think twice.”
Any move to back out of the Clean Power Plan or the Paris Agreement could be extremely unpopular moves, environmentalists argue. Polls have shown a majority of voters in at least two states believe global warming is a serious problem.
An exit poll conducted for The Associated Press and television networks found that about half of Trump voters in Florida, a state he carried, agreed that climate change was a serious problem. In Maine, just over half of Trump supporters also agreed, while about four in 10 disagreed.
Trump also has vowed to tap into America’s coal reserves in an effort to put the shrinking energy sector back to work. In a speech in the

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Storm wipes out Florida sand crucial for protection, tourism

Monday, October 10th, 2016

When Christa Savva returned to the Sandy Shoes Beach Resort a day after Hurricane Matthew brushed by Melbourne Beach, Florida, she looked at the beach in front of the pink-flamingo-colored hotel and noticed that half the sand dunes had disappeared.
Savva guesses three-quarters of the missing dunes washed into the ocean, and the remaining quarter scattered onto the resort’s beachfront property, which was undamaged by the hurricane.
“I was like, ‘Oh, my goodness!’” Savva, a property manager for the Space-Age-era hotel, said Sunday. “It’s crazy to have the dunes gone and all you see is empty space.”
The sand on Florida’s beaches is the equivalent of tourism gold, and its disappearance over time threatens the state’s No. 1 industry. While Hurricane Matthew didn’t ravage Florida’s coast as a series of storms did a dozen years ago, it collapsed dunes, washing away sand that protected buildings and roads during storms, and will likely require the spending of millions of dollars on beach restoration projects.
In Jacksonville Beach, the top of the dunes collapsed onto the lower part of the dunes, creating 10-foot high cliffs of sand, rather than the usual gentle slopes of the dunes.
Federal, state and local officials respond to beach erosion by depositing new sand in areas where it has disappeared, and the sand dunes act as barriers to infrastructure. Before these projects took off three decades ago, sea walls were often the only thing that stood between water, winds and buildings during storms.
“The good news is a lot of people don’t realize our beaches are engineered. It looks natural, but we construct the sand so it’s sacrificed during hurricanes and protects roads and structures and potentially human lives,” said Jackie Keiser, a Jacksonville-area official with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
While a statewide evaluation of beach erosion has yet to be completed,

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Outcry grows over delay in warning about Mosaic sinkhole, contamination

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Neighbors of a huge sinkhole sending cascades of contaminated water and fertilizer plant waste into Florida’s main drinking-water aquifer are fearful and fuming that it took weeks for them to be notified about the disaster.
Many are still waiting anxiously for results from tests for radiation and toxic chemicals in their well water.
Meanwhile, the Mosaic Co. – one of the world’s largest producers of phosphate and potash for fertilizer – acknowledged Wednesday that the contamination had spread to groundwater around the sinkhole.
So far, more than 200 million gallons of tainted water has drained from a waste heap through a 45-foot-wide hole into the Floridan aquifer, which provides water to millions of people in the state.
On Thursday, company spokeswoman Jackie Barron said the acidity and sulphates were found in a recovery well being used to pull water out within a quarter mile of the sinkhole. She said monitoring wells farther away were still showing no signs of contamination, and that no contamination was found beyond the limits of the company’s property.
Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection and the company say contaminated water has not migrated enough to threaten private wells in the area, but more than 600 people have accepted Mosaic’s offer of free testing since being told of the disaster.
Some residents say they haven’t received any results yet, and are angry they weren’t told until three weeks after Mosaic reported the groundwater contamination to Florida officials.
A Mosaic employee discovered the water loss caused by the sinkhole Aug. 27 and the state and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was notified the next day, as required by Florida law, according to David Jellerson, the company’s senior director for environmental and phosphate projects.
However, nearby homeowners weren’t first notified by Mosaic or DEP until Sept. 19, after news of the sinkhole broke the previous week. Only then

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Water quality challenges focus of AIF Florida Water Forum

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Moving residents off septic systems should be included in efforts to clean up the Indian River Lagoon, experts said Thursday.
Experts said wastewater run-off and septic systems play a role in the algae blooms that have plagued South Florida in recent years. And while it is just part of the problem, one expert said money may be better spent focusing on septic systems instead of buying land south of Lake Okeechobee.
“I don’t see that buying land south of the lake is going to have a big effect in the wet season,” said Brian Lapointe, a research professor with Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Beach Oceanographic Institute. “I think it’s very clear that every septic tank that gets connected to sewer is going to make a measurable improvement in quality.”
Lapointe made his comments during the 2016 Florida Water Forum hosted by Associated Industries of Florida. The annual event is a chance for elected officials, the business community and other policy leaders to come together to discuss ongoing water issues.
The 2016 forum comes as state and local leaders are trying to deal with the effects from Lake Okeechobee discharges. The Army Corps of Engineers began releasing water down the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers earlier this year, after a wetter than normal January.
That wet weather continued for several months, marking the “wettest dry season on record,” said Rich Budell, the managing partner of Budell Water Group and the former director of the Office of Agriculture Water Policy with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
The discharges have been blamed, at least in part, for toxic algae blooms that clogged waterways and temporarily closed South Florida beaches.
But a failure to invest in moving to sewer could also be part of the problem. And when posed with the question of how they would spend $1

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Joe Henderson: St. Pete’s stinky mess, sewage and politics

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman is angry — MAD, I tell you! — that Gov. Rick Scott is playing politics just because the city’s streets and waterways were covered in sewage following Hurricane Hermine.
Um, Mr. Mayor?
I suspect you already know this, but you have a lot bigger problems than the Republican governor of the state turning a major mess in the city controlled by a Democratic mayor (that’s you, sir) into political capital.
Of course, politics will be involved, and Scott did what politicians do when he quite properly ordered the state Department of Environmental Protection to investigate just how badly St. Petersburg screwed this thing up. It was political, too, when Republican U.S. Rep. David Jolly asked for federal intervention into the matter.
Jolly’s move is a bit snarky. Like Charlie Crist, his opponent for the CD 13 seat in November, pointed out in their debate Monday, where was Jolly when the streets started looking and smelling bad? Jolly said he wasn’t asked to get involved.
Bad answer.
But Scott’s moves, while political, also are things the governor should be doing. He ought to be turning up the heat to broiling. That includes his order for the state health department to test whether some beaches and water for lingering effects of the sewage flood that turned parts of a lovely city into a stinky mess.
That prompted this rebuttal from Kriseman:
“The Department of Environmental Protection is already involved in this issue, and given that the governor is singling out St. Petersburg and ignoring the actions of governments across our region, we have to chalk this up to politics,” he said in a statement released by his office.
Actually, the governor said spills in other parts of the area are being investigated as well. But unless there is some information that has yet to become public,

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Gov. Scott’s blind trust and a company with a massive pollution problem

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

By Dan Christensen
FloridaBulldog.org
When Gov. Rick Scott put $133 million of his assets into a blind trust two years ago, he included his shares of Mosaic, owner of the Central Florida fertilizer plant where 215 million gallons of contaminated wastewater recently drained into an aquifer that provides drinking water for millions of Floridians.
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Rick Scott orders DEP investigation in St. Petersburg sewage discharges

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

Gov. Rick Scott has ordered the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to investigate sewage discharges in St. Petersburg.
The Governor’s Office made the announcement Wednesday, just one day after Scott called on the state Department of Health to begin additional testing at the discharge site. While city is responsible for testing in the immediate area, the Department of Health will monitor the water quality and do sampling at 14 beaches — including nine in Pinellas County and five in Hillsborough.
“Florida is known for our pristine environment, world-class beaches and award winning state parks,” said Scott in a statement. “We must do all we can to protect our environment and that is why I am directing the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to investigate the sewage dump that occurred in St. Petersburg following Hurricane Hermine.”
Heavy rains from Hurricane Hermine overwhelmed the area’s sewer systems. That caused millions of gallons of sewage to flow into the streets and waterways. According to the Governor’s Office, St. Petersburg dumped more than 150 million of raw and partially treated sewage into Tampa Bay and Boca Ciega Bay.
The Department of Health has issued a health advisory for Simmons Park Beach in Hillsborough County, across the bay from St. Petersburg.
The post Rick Scott orders DEP investigation in St. Petersburg sewage discharges appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Rick Scott orders DEP investigation in St. Petersburg sewage discharges

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

Gov. Rick Scott has ordered the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to investigate sewage discharges in St. Petersburg.
The Governor’s Office made the announcement Wednesday, just one day after Scott called on the state Department of Health to begin additional testing at the discharge site. While city is responsible for testing in the immediate area, the Department of Health will monitor the water quality and do sampling at 14 beaches — including nine in Pinellas County and five in Hillsborough.
“Florida is known for our pristine environment, world-class beaches and award winning state parks,” said Scott in a statement. “We must do all we can to protect our environment and that is why I am directing the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to investigate the sewage dump that occurred in St. Petersburg following Hurricane Hermine.”
Heavy rains from Hurricane Hermine overwhelmed the area’s sewer systems. That caused millions of gallons of sewage to flow into the streets and waterways. According to the Governor’s Office, St. Petersburg dumped more than 150 million of raw and partially treated sewage into Tampa Bay and Boca Ciega Bay.
The Department of Health has issued a health advisory for Simmons Park Beach in Hillsborough County, across the bay from St. Petersburg.
The post Rick Scott orders DEP investigation in St. Petersburg sewage discharges appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Judge: Pipeline foes can’t raise Gov. Scott’s alleged conflict of interest

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

By Dan Christensen
FloridaBulldog.org
A Tallahassee administrative judge has ruled that environmental opponents of the proposed Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline cannot raise allegations that Gov. Rick Scott has a financial conflict of interest in the project.
The post Judge: Pipeline foes can’t raise Gov. Scott’s alleged conflict of interest appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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Pipeline company to judge: Evidence of Gov. Scott’s investment in us ‘irrelevant’

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

By Dan Christensen
FloridaBulldog.org
Lawyers for a company that wants to build a natural gas pipeline in north Florida have told a judge that environmental opponents should be blocked from “presenting evidence or argument” about Gov. Rick Scott’s financial interest in the company.
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Shari Anker: Battle to save 2 preserve state parks teaches statewide lessons

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

The story of the Port St. Lucie Crosstown Parkway Bridge tells how we lose Florida’s  natural beauty, resources, and ecosystems, even if they exist in our Preserve State Parks. It’s the story of a battle that must be fought if we are to save any of them.
In 1990, the city of Port St. Lucie surveyed federal, state, and regional natural resource/regulatory agencies about building a bridge through the North Fork of the St. Lucie River Aquatic Preserve — established in 1972— using two potential routes. All agencies commented that both routes crossed very environmentally sensitive lands and waters, affecting important wetlands. And of the two, they were firmly against what’s now known as Route 1C.
Undeterred, the Port St. Lucie city manager stated that since there was unanimous disapproval, the next step was to go “political.”
That was done. Then-state Sen. Ken Pruitt was enlisted to lobby for the cause. Engineering consultants were hired for millions of dollars to make the case that Route 1C was the “most beneficial.”
In 1996, the city began buying property along the Route 1C corridor, even though the National Environmental Policy Act dictates that an objective Alternatives Analysis and Environmental Impact Statement be completed prior to route selection. Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection demanded, unsuccessfully, that an EIS be performed for the entire proposed Crosstown Parkway from Interstate 95 to Hutchinson Island. Project segmentation can substantially underestimate a project’s cumulative effects.

By 2006 the bridge project was being reviewed by the Florida Department of Transportation, which solicited comment from reviewing agencies such as the DEP. Many agencies “red-flagged” the proposed bridge crossing because of negative effects to parklands, wetlands, and wildlife.  No matter, the EIS declared that a road piercing the heart of important public lands was the very best possible route.
If the city chose any other route,

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Pipeline foes ask DEP to deny key permit; Cite ‘conflict of interest’ by Gov. Scott

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

By Dan Christensen
FloridaBulldog.org
Opponents of a proposed natural gas pipeline in North Florida are asking Florida regulators to reject the project, citing both dangers to the environment and a “conflict of interest” by the regulators’ boss, Gov. Rick Scott.
The post Pipeline foes ask DEP to deny key permit; Cite ‘conflict of interest’ by Gov. Scott appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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