Saturday, July 31, 2021

Play

Educators' unions call for efforts to ensure in-person learning keeps students, teachers, families, and staff safe; and an update on hate crimes by state.

Play

Congress passes Capitol security funding; House Freedom Caucus members want Cheney, Kinzinger out of GOP conference; Schumer closes a deal to advance $3.5 trillion reconciliation package; and a new report says investor-owned utilities try to block rooftop solar.

As Toxic Algae, Other Issues Bloom, FL Environmental Secretary Resigns

Play

Friday, June 4, 2021   

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Today marks the last day on the job for Florida's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) secretary, who turned in his resignation nearly a month before the agency acknowledged the change.

Noah Valenstein turned in his resignation letter May 8, but no public notice was given until reporters started asking questions. The news came as a shock to many in the environmental community, including those who regarded Valenstein for doing his best against the odds.

Aliki Moncrief, executive director of Florida Conservation Voters, said the agency has a lot of challenges ahead.

"The person inheriting this, and I know it's going to be, in the interim, Shawn Hamilton, but whoever ultimately becomes secretary of DEP is inheriting a lot of undone, unfinished business, serious business, and it's not going to be an easy job," Moncrief contended.

Red tide and blue-green algae blooms, which killed around 200 tons of marine life three years ago, are already resurfacing in parts of Florida. And there's ongoing litigation from the April discharge of 215 million gallons of polluted water from the Piney Point phosphate plant into Tampa Bay.

Shawn Hamilton, DEP's deputy secretary for land and recreation, will take the helm for now. Environmental advocates said they want to see someone with strong conservation expertise in the job, who is able to crack down on polluters.

Moncrief pointed out too often, those with environmental experience are marginalized or serve as figureheads.

"As competent as they can be, as knowledgeable as they can be and as personally invested as they can be in environmental protection, at the end, it's really the governor and the Legislature. They are the bodies that are supposed to be driving policies forward," Moncrief remarked.

As an example, Moncrief noted legislation to adopt recommendations from the Blue-Green Algae Task Force got so watered down in the legislative process environmental groups lobbied the governor to veto it. Instead, DeSantis signed the bill into law, touting himself as a champion of the environment.


get more stories like this via email
In addition to roof repairs and other home improvements to lower utility bills, a Michigan League for Public Policy report recommends expanding utility-shutoff protections to include households with young children. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

LANSING, Mich. - High utility costs are a major burden for Michigan's low-income residents, and a new study says they have an impact on their health…


Environment

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A new report shows an effort by investor-owned utilities in the Sunshine State to block the growth of rooftop solar. The …

Health and Wellness

By Troy Pierson / Broadcast version by Mary Schuermann reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Collaboration. As marijuana becomes more …


Across the United States, 46 states have laws allowing for harsher punishment for crimes based on bias. (Ludk/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

SALT LAKE CITY - With rising numbers of people targeted in hate crimes and related violence, a new report analyzes the hate-crime laws in each state…

Social Issues

BOSTON - Educators' unions are calling on the state to support their efforts to ensure in-person learning in the fall keeps students, teachers…

According to AARP Connecticut, 47% of family caregivers have had at least one financial setback, such as having less money for retirement or savings, or cutting back on their own healthcare spending. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

HARTFORD, Conn. - In Connecticut, more than 460,000 people care for close friends or family members who can't manage on their own - and their …

Social Issues

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Millions of Americans soon could find eviction notices on their front doors, but New Mexico renters will not be among them - as …

Health and Wellness

CONCORD, N.H. - New Hampshire advocates for affordable healthcare access want Congress to lower prescription costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021