Thursday, June 21, 2018


Craig Pittman

Craig Pittman

Tampa Bay Times reporter Craig Pittman is a native Floridian. He graduated from Troy State University in Alabama, where his muckraking work for the student paper prompted an agitated dean to label him "the most destructive force on campus." Since then he has covered a variety of newspaper beats and quite a few natural disasters, including hurricanes, wildfires and the Florida Legislature. Since 1998 he has reported on environmental issues for the Times. He is a four-time winner of the Waldo Proffitt Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism in Florida and a series of stories on Florida's vanishing wetlands that he wrote with Matthew Waite won the top investigative reporting award in both 2006 and 2007 from the Society of Environmental Journalists. He is the author of four books: "The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal, and the World's Most Beautiful Orchid" (2012); "Manatee Insanity: Inside the War Over Florida's Most Famous Endangered Species," (2010); and, co-written with Waite, "Paving Paradise: Florida's Vanishing Wetlands and the Failure of No Net Loss," (2009). His new book, < a href=""> "Oh, Florida! How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country,"hits stores in July 2016. He lives in St. Petersburg with his wife and two children.

To promote its

Clearwater and Tampa want to turn flushed water into drinking water. Is it safe?

Twenty years ago some people called it "Twerp." Others, wrinkling their noses, called it "toilet-to-tap," or something more vulgar.In 1998, Tampa tried to boost its drinking water supply by supplementing it with treated wastewater, calling the...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Check the latest breaking news and developments.

Federal judge halts work on Suncoast 2 toll road

U.S. District Judge James S. Moody, Jr. granted a temporary restraining order on Thursday to halt the work that has already begun on the extension of the Suncoast Parkway — aka the controversial "Suncoast 2."The toll road now ends at U.S. 98 at...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18
The Suncoast Parkway currently ends at State Road 44 in Hernando County. [Times (2002)]

Suit seeks to stop Suncoast 2 toll road construction

As construction workers begin clearing the forest at the end of the original Suncoast Parkway to build a second toll road, historic preservation and environmental activists filed suit this week to stop it in its tracks.
Published: 06/13/18
Eric Ducharme, aka

The State You’re In: Florida’s mermaid industry doesn’t pay scale

Florida’s best-known industries include citrus, seafood and selling tacky souvenirs to tourists. But there’s one booming Florida industry that hardly ever gets a mention from the Chamber of Commerce folks.Mermaids.All over the state...
Updated one month ago
A Florida softshell turtle swims in a pond on Wednesday (5/30/18) in Palm Harbor. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]

Die-off of freshwater turtles prompts Florida wildlife agency to investigate

The die-off began five months ago. Freshwater turtles began turning up dead along the St. Johns River in January. Now about 100 dead or dying turtles have been found in water bodies in Orange, Seminole and Putnam counties. A few reports have...
Updated one month ago
The comedy team of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy made more than 100 comedy films together. Hardy got his start in the movie business in Jacksonville, back when it was known as the

The State You’re In: Laurel? Or Hardy? (Hint: The 2nd one was a Florida man)

You may have heard about the Internet imbroglio last week over a recording that some people thought sounded one way and others thought sounded another, aka the
Updated one month ago

Company that spilled fertilizer at Tampa port says not as much hit the water

The company that on Friday reported spilling 2 tons of fertilizer into a channel feeding into Tampa Bay says now that the amount was far smaller — 200 pounds, at most.Both Kinder Morgan, which spilled the fertilizer, and the state Department of...
Updated one month ago
The International Energy Agency announced this month that the rising use of air conditioners in homes and stores and offices will be the top driver of global electricity demand over the next 50 years. []

Oh, Florida! Without air conditioning we’re a stinky swamp of sweat. With it, we warm the world

As I write this, some workers are disassembling the 24-year-old air conditioning system in my house. They’re clunking and clanking around, tromping up and down my stairs, so they can replace the old system with a new one that presumably...
Updated one month ago
Nearly two years after a massive sinkhole opened up at a Mosaic phosphate processing plant in Mulberry and drained the polluted water from a phosphogympsum stack, Mosaic says the chasm is nearly filled in. [Courtesy of Mosaic]

Two years after it swallowed 215M gallons of polluted water, Mosaic sinkhole finally corked

Nearly two years after a massive sinkhole opened at Mosaic’s Mulberry phosphate processing plant, a company spokeswoman says it has been sealed at last and will be completely filled by the end of May.The state Department of Environmental...
Updated one month ago
Billionaire George Lindemann Jr. says he regarded Lake Point as a way to do good while making money. When two government agencies backed away from their agreements with the company, he sued.
 (Courtesy of George Lindemann Jr.)

Only in Florida: Battle over water, free speech pits billionaire vs. activist

This is a story about free speech, government secrecy and a fight over tens of millions in taxpayer funds. The players include a billionaire who once had a hit man kill his horse, two politicians charged with breaking the Sunshine Law and former U.S.
Updated one month ago