Department of Environmental Protection

JESSICA MESZAROS / WUSF Public Media

Local governments have spent $17.3 million the state provided to combat outbreaks of red tide and toxic blue-green algae, which have caused massive fish kills and fouled waters in coastal areas for more than a year.

Several people voiced concern Tuesday about 30,000 tons of toxic sludge from Fort Myers that will be dumped in a Polk County landfill. But there's nothing county officials can do about it.

A coalition of southeast Florida counties is leading the state in responding to vulnerabilities caused by climate change and sea-level rise, according to state environmental leaders.

On Thursday, officials and planners who represent Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties met at the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Leadership Summit to discuss progress on issues linked to climate change. Noah Valenstein, the secretary of Florida's Department of Environmental Protection, thanked the more than 300 people gathered.

NASA

Gov. Rick Scott on Monday issued an emergency order over the reemergence of toxic algae outbreaks on both coasts, as the regions’ water quality blossoms into a political issue.

Researchers in Florida received funding from the federal government to restore seagrasses in the Gulf of Mexico. The goal is to protect about 30 acres of the sea floor, and repair about half of that.

Agency: Algae Bloom In Lake Okeechobee Not Toxic

Jul 31, 2017
NASA EARTH OBSERVATORY

State environmental agencies say an algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee is not toxic.

But environmental groups want more information.

Conservation groups, Governor Rick Scott and Cabinet members are praising Florida’s newest top environmental regulator, Noah Valenstein, as a consensus builder dedicated to public service.

 UPDATED: Friday, June 30, 2017 at 10:36 AM 

CORRECTION: WGCU originally wrote, "Acquaviva did not return WGCU’s calls for comment," but it should read "call."

Lee County is once again looking for the chemical arsenic on Pine Island. That’s after documents surfaced from a few years ago showing arsenic levels hundreds and sometimes thousands of times higher than the federal government allows on private and public lands.

Experts say this could’ve potentially harmed island residents and wildlife within the surrounding estuaries. Arsenic is a naturally occurring metal, but state and federal health officials say if high levels are consumed, it can make people sick and cause cancer.

Public records show state environmental officials knew about the high arsenic levels but decided to stop testing for it in 2015.

While President Donald Trump’s immigration restrictions and Supreme Court pick dominate the headlines, many Floridians are focused more intently on Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s nomination as head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Scott, Cabinet Approve Matthews As Interim DEP Secretary

Feb 2, 2017
Politico

Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet on Wednesday unanimously named Ryan Matthews as the interim secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Chief of Florida's Environmental Agency To Resign

Jan 22, 2017
Northwest Florida Water Management District

The chief of Florida's Department of Environmental Protection is stepping down after two years on the job.

State regulators are assuring Floridians their drinking water is safe in the wake of a sinkhole at a Polk county fertilizer plant.  But the agency’s response is raising other concerns.

DEP: Plant Runoff Not Contaminating Wells Near Sinkhole

Nov 17, 2016
Mosaic

State environmental officials say that contaminates have been found in private wells of 57 homeowners near the site of a sinkhole at a fertilizer plant, but that the plant's contaminated runoff hasn't been detected in those wells.

The Department of Environmental Protection is tinkering with new regulations that would expedite public notification for pollution.   But many industrial interests are pushing back.

Challenges To New Water Standards Tossed Out

Sep 15, 2016

Siding with the Department of Environmental Protection on procedural grounds, an administrative law judge has rejected a series of challenges to controversial new state water-quality standards.

NASA EARTH OBSERVATORY

A new state report estimates that half the lake area in Florida contains elevated levels of algae.

Scott Declares Emergency Over Treasure Coast Algae Blooms

Jun 30, 2016
WQCS

With widespread algae blooms causing beaches to be closed in Martin County, Gov. Rick Scott issued a state of emergency for Martin and St. Lucie counties on Wednesday.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection hosted a brownfields symposium this week in Sarasota.

Brownfields are sites considered to be “environmentally contaminated.”

The state wants to spread awareness about its brownfield redevelopment program to local cities and businesses.

The Department of Environmental Protection has put Florida Power and Light on notice.

The utility company now has less than three weeks to provide any information about the Turkey Point nuclear power plant’s canals - and the seepage of contaminants into Biscayne Bay and beyond.

Thirty-nine cooling canals surround the power plant.

Wikimedia Commons

State inspectors say a failing sewage plant in southwest Florida pumped hundreds of thousands of gallons of inadequately treated liquid sewage into nearby mangroves earlier this year.

U.S. Geological Survey

The Florida House passed a bill Monday to study and regulate fracking, as well as prevent local governments from banning the oil and gas drilling practice.

Democrats strongly opposed the bill, saying hydraulic fracturing would put the water supply at risk and the practice should instead be banned. But Republicans said fracking isn't regulated right now and the bill would ensure that it's done safely.

Most people don’t think about the septic tank until it needs to be pumped out. And even then, most people don’t care where the stuff goes when the smelly truck pulls away. But as Jim Ash reports, some lawmakers are looking at the final destination closely and environmentalists are concerned.

The Legislature will consider clean-up projects for three Florida waterways this spring, but will avoid major policies that challenge the state’s polluters, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Tampa Bay Times

Even for Florida, it was a strange way to die.  Jeffrey Bush, 37,  was asleep in bed at his family's house in Seffner Thursday night when a hole suddenly opened under his bedroom, pulling him deep into the earth along with the furniture. 

Today, a "delicate demolition" of the home continues while the family tries to salvage whatever they can from the rubble, the Tampa Bay Times reports.