Florida Center for Investigative Reporting
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is not enforcing laws against companies responsible for hazardous materials pollution or collecting the fines it could from polluters, according to a study released Thursday by an environmental group.
The report, by the Florida chapter of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, examined several years of public records and found that DEP enforcement efforts have been significantly scaled back. Enforcement cases filed by the agency have declined 82 percent since 2011. Hazardous waste assessments, in which the department has found a violation against a perpetrator, have declined 80 percent since 2010.
Some hazardous waste permit holders “have never been inspected before, ever,” said Jerry Phillips, director of Florida PEER and a former enforcement attorney for DEP.
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