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Enforcement of pollution laws drop under Scott

Florida’s enforcement of pollution laws has dropped significantly during the administration of Gov. Rick Scott, according to a report released Wednesday by an environmental group.

The declines during Scott’s first year in office were across the board, from the number of major cases opened to the size of penalties collected, according to an analysis by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

Jerry Phillips, director of Florida’s PEER office in Tallahassee, said some falloff was expected because Scott, a former hospital executive, had campaigned on a pro-business, anti-regulation agenda.

“We all hoped it wouldn’t happen but I can’t say I’m shocked by these numbers, although if you look at the numbers in a historic context, yeah, it’s shocking,” said Phillips, a former enforcement attorney for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Jennifer Diaz, a spokeswoman for the Florida DEP, criticized the report as misleading and “irresponsible,” saying it failed to account for the agency’s proactive efforts. The department’s strategy, she said, includes “compliance assistance’’ outreach efforts with industry, businesses and government agencies intended to reduce violations.

The report by PEER, a national nonprofit whose members include state and federal workers whose names are kept confidential, compared enforcement statistics in 2011 with the previous year. It found:

•  The total number of enforcement cases dropped by 28 percent.

•  Pollution penalties dropped by 29 percent, with the number of fines topping $100,000 dropping by half.

•  Enforcement with mandatory follow-ups to check compliance fell by 62 percent. Previous reports produced by PEER show enforcement fines and cases falling since the administration of former Gov. Jeb Bush, but Phillips said the sharper decline over the last year points to a shift in policy to use enforcement only as a last resort.

~ Curtis Morgan


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/06/19/2857830/report-pollution-enforcement-drops.html#storylink=cpy

Comments

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Ewing

The exact same thing has happened in Miami Dade with the dismantling of Miami Dade Department of Environmental Management. Gimenez has done a great disservice to this community and Dade will end up being an environmental cesspool because of him.

Ewing

Correction: Miami Dade Department of Environmental Resources Management. A once highly effective and dedicated department trashed for politican gain!

Robert Hershgeer

With our waterways already under attack by pollution The Republican party has through Scott shown it cares little for our health and welfare except where it makes them richer. We need to enforce the law, fine the polluters and increase the clean up of our valued waterways. Enforcement means more money coming into the states coffers, lower taxes for the middle and lower income people and yes the rich ones too. Scott only cares about one thing...money in HIS pocket. Remove him from office.

Think About It

Lack of enforcement = another tax break for the corporations!

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