A new law signed today requires public notification within 24 hours of pollution incidents.
Environmental advocate, Susan Glickman, says Governor Rick Scott signed this law because of a pollution incident in Polk County last year.
“It came as a result of a massive sinkhole that opened up under a gypsum stack at a Mosaic phosphate fertilizer plant,” she says.
Glickman says 215 million gallons of contaminated water spilled into Florida’s aquifer, and the public did not know about it for weeks. She also says pollution has devastating effects to Florida’s economy and public health.
“Let’s get the information out in the open and get at the root causes of these problems. This has an impact on our public health. It also hurts our biggest industry in the state, which is tourism, when people who come here to use our natural environments. They’re not going to come to Florida when they hear about pollution,” she says.
Glickman says this law will not solve all the problems caused by pollution, but will help keep industries accountable and better protect the public.
Meanwhile, Florida Petroleum Council Director, David Mica, says this law appeals to both the private and public sectors.
“I think it was executed in a fair manner that met the balance of private business-type needs and getting the public informed in the best way possible,” he says.
Mica says most business are aware of the need for transparency, and this law will extend public notification.