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PEER - Environmental Report

PEER logo, peer.org
PEER logo, peer.org

This week, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility issued a disturbing report highlighting just how slack things have gotten when it comes to environmental regulation in Florida. According to an analysis of the state Department of Environmental Protection's work, after 2010- the year Gov. Rick Scott was elected - anti-pollution enforcement in the state took a nosedive. In 2014, the state pursued just 234 enforcement cases, compared to more than 1,500 in 2010.

PEER determined that, overall, the state has seen sharp, steady declines in the enforcement of major regulations programs governing everything from clean air and water to industrial waste, hazardous waste and beaches and coastal waters.

“Under Scott, the DEP has largely ceased engaging in meaningful environmental protection,” Florida PEER Director Jerry Phillips, a former DEP enforcement attorney says in PEER's summary of the report.

Even if you don't care about anything else you should probably take notice of at least one area where enforcement dropped off dramatically: potable water. The program to ensure and protect drinking water quality saw an 88 percent drop over the past three years, according to PEER, as did the state's air-quality protection enforcement program. According to PEER, there were just five potable-water assessments during 2014, down from 141 in 2010.

“By virtually every measure," PEER's  Phillips says, "enforcement levels are so low that it is hard to even get a pulse.”