Florida officials haven’t backed new regulations with the funding required to fulfill them.
For example, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) is supposed to inspect farms every two years to verify they are adhering to best management practices that reduce pollution. DACS said it doesn’t have enough staff to fulfill its duties, but will ask for more during the legislative session that begins Jan. 11.
DEP and DACS also go back and forth on which is responsible for enforcing the rules.
DEP has the authority to issue fines and pursue lawsuits against farmers, but it never has. Farmers praise the state’s “cooperative” approach and avoid any punishments.