“Florida’s environmental cops fine fewer than half as many polluters today less than half as much than they did a decade ago, before former Gov. Rick Scott took office and shifted state regulators to a more pro-business posture, state data shows.
Through the first week of December, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection assessed 352 penalties this year, totaling $4.4 million in fines for violating air, water, sewer, petroleum tank and other state environmental regulations.
By comparison, in 2010 DEP assessed 1,249 environmental penalties in Florida, totaling $10.2 million — more than 3 ½-times as many penalties and double thefines assessed this year.
DEP holds that the lower figures prove the success of the agency’s mission to help businesses, utilities and other polluters to clean up their acts. But the agency’s critics say the steep drop in fines reflects an ever-softening stance on environmental enforcement and permitting in Florida. In the meantime, critics add, the state’s sensitive waters, air and other natural resources suffer, with unknown risks and consequences for public health.”
Read the PEER Story…