Every year, Jerrel “Jerry” Phillips of the Florida chapter of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility runs the DEP’s enforcement numbers and issues a report. The report for Hamilton’s first year, issued last month, found some major problems.
Big sewage leaks happened nearly every day around the state in 2021, noted Phillips, a former DEP enforcement attorney. Yet, he wrote, “despite a growing water quality crisis, meaningful enforcement designed to curb this major source of pollution is virtually nonexistent.”
Then came the good news/bad news part.
The good news: Under Hamilton, the DEP conducted three times as many inspections of potential polluters over the previous year (which, as it turns out, isn’t saying much because in 2020 the agency did hardly any).