Tuesday, September 25, 2018
News Roundup

Romano: If you’re looking for a culprit, the slime stops here

He has created jobs. He has boosted tourism. He has eliminated crime and turned all of our schoolchildren into geniuses. If you listen long enough to his handlers, youíll get the impression Gov. Rick Scott can also walk on water.

And in our current environment of slime and muck, maybe he can.

Thatís the risk politicians take when they run around a state taking credit for every bit of good news to be found. It means they must inevitably wear the bad, too.

In this case, that means the poisonous, smelly, noxious algae that has covered freshwater spots inland, and turned into a deadly red tide on more than 100 miles of Florida coastline.

The Washington Post is writing about it. CNN and the Weather Channel are talking about it. A state dependent on tourism is now generating headlines fit for the cover of Toxic Illustrated.

And no one is more responsible than Scott.

Oh, itís true this is not the first time Florida has dealt with algae or red tide, but it is equally true Scott has done little to prevent this out-of-the-norm outbreak this summer.

You could even argue his policies have encouraged it.

Think of how he has treated the environment since his first election in 2010. Even before he was sworn in, he was complaining about clean water standards imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency, and asking that Florida be spared from "burdensome regulations.íí

The stateís Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) was eventually given the responsibility for regulating the exact type of pollutants that have contributed to the nasty green gook that has been showing up in the stateís rivers and lakes.

The number of enforcement cases handled by the DEP ó essentially the number of times they investigated developers or corporations for pollution violations ó dropped to a fraction of what they had been under Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist.

Scott abolished the agency that had been responsible for reviewing local development plans, and he directed water management districts to lower taxes, which decimated their budgets.

RELATED: Lingering Red Tide bloom moves north, killing fish near mouth of Tampa Bay

He also signed a law in 2012 that repealed mandatory inspections for septic tanks, a decision that environmentalists now say is fueling the current algae crisis.

Perhaps the most underhanded move was the scam he pulled on the stateís seven-member Environmental Regulation Commission. After the commission declined to change the number of dangerous pollutants allowed in our water, Scott waited until one commissioner retired and two others had their terms end.

Scott then added another DEP attorney to the commission and left the other two seats empty.

With the board now dominated by lawyers instead of scientists and environmentalists, the new standard for pollutants passed by a 3-2 vote.

From the time he arrived in Tallahassee, Scott has been fighting any attempt at federal regulation of the environment, and now he has the gall to blame Washington, D.C., for our recent problems.

Itís unfair to put all of the stateís pollution problems on Scottís shoulders, but itís not hard to connect the dots between his business-first attitude and our current environmental mess.

In times of crisis, they say cream rises to the top.

In Florida, so does the slime.

Comments

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Did Ryan Fitzpatrick do enough to keep his job?

Rick Stroud and Times sports columnist Tom Jones break down the Bucs' 30-27 loss to the Steelers on Monday Night Football.Ryan Fitzpatrick  had a difficult first half, throwing three interceptions, but  led a second-half comeback that ...
Updated: 4 minutes ago
You thought you knew these candidates? In House District 38, it's Tent Killer challenging Little Danny

You thought you knew these candidates? In House District 38, it's Tent Killer challenging Little Danny

Most everybody knew John David Hayes simply as “David’’ until 1982. The then-21-year-old skydiving enthusiast, however, made a bad landing on his 11th jump in Alberta, Canada, and soon everyone started calling him something else. "...
Updated: 4 minutes ago
The magic has worn off. Time for the Bucs to start Jameis Winston

The magic has worn off. Time for the Bucs to start Jameis Winston

TAMPA — So this will be a fun and interesting week over at One Buc Place.Who's the quarterback?That question will be asked a few times. The likely answer will end up being Ryan Fitzpatrick.But this question will be asked a few dozen times:...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
He helped save a disabled man trapped in a burning house. Now, he is a letter-carrier hero

He helped save a disabled man trapped in a burning house. Now, he is a letter-carrier hero

VALRICO ó Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night are supposed to keep U.S. Postal Service workers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.Add fire to that list for Jason Moss, a letter carrier for the Sulphur Springs Post Offic...
Updated: 12 minutes ago
Turnaround of the season so far? Thatíd be Seffner Christian

Turnaround of the season so far? Thatíd be Seffner Christian

SEFFNER — Junior Isaiah Knowles stood on the Seffner Christian football field before the season and said some things that lots of kids say but aren't necessarily true, or at the very least, are often exaggerated."We are much stronger, faster, s...
Updated: 1 hour ago
SB I-75 closed at I-275 apex following crash near Bruce B. Downs Boulevard

SB I-75 closed at I-275 apex following crash near Bruce B. Downs Boulevard

A crash with injuries early Tuesday morning has closed southbound Interstate 75 at the I-275 apex into Hillsborough County.The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating a three-vehicle crash that involved a semi-truck in the southbound lanes of I-75 ne...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Winston or Fitzpatrick? Reading between the lines in the Bucs locker room

Winston or Fitzpatrick? Reading between the lines in the Bucs locker room

TAMPA — At some point Tuesday morning, Jameis Winston will walk into the office of head coach Dirk Koetter and get the news.There will likely be hugs and handshakes, but within the first few minutes, Koetter will tell Winston what his role will...
Updated: 2 hours ago
No relief from the heat with record highs possible for Tampa Bay

No relief from the heat with record highs possible for Tampa Bay

Folks around Tampa Bay should not expect any relief from this week's unseasonably warm temperatures as sparse cloud cover will provide little shade from the overbearing sunshine that will rocket temperatures into the 90s by lunchtime.To make matters ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Flyers introduce 'Gritty,' an odd-looking mascot that's freaking people out

Flyers introduce 'Gritty,' an odd-looking mascot that's freaking people out

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Flyers have introduced an odd-looking new team mascot — a 7-foot fuzzy creature named Gritty with a wild, orange beard.The character's debut triggered an outpouring of comments online, including "Goo...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Citrus County crash kills two, including Port Richey motorcyclist

Citrus County crash kills two, including Port Richey motorcyclist

A Port Richey motorcyclist and pedestrian from Citrus County were killed Monday morning in a crash on U.S. 19 in Homosassa.According to the Florida Highway Patrol, 50-year-old Donald Glenn Moore was riding northbound on U.S. 19, near South Suffolk Te...
Updated: 4 hours ago