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Craig Pittman - Environment, Growth and Development Reporter

Environment, Growth and Development Reporter

I’m a native Floridian whose family arrived here in 1850. I graduated from Troy State University in Alabama, where my muckraking for the student paper prompted an agitated dean to label me “the most destructive force on campus.” Since then I’ve covered a variety of beats and quite a few natural disasters, including hurricanes, wildfires and the Florida Legislature. Stories I have written on environmental issues have won national awards, and "The Daily Show" once called me a "nerd" about Florida history. I’ve written four books. The most recent one,Oh, Florida! How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country, is a New York Times bestseller and won a Florida Book Awards gold medal in 2017.

  1. Emissions from cars and trucks are a major source of the greenhouse gases fueling climate change. An analysis by the New York Times found that air pollution from those sources has increased in the Tampa Bay area by 55 percent since 1990. [Times (2008)]
    Florida once had emissions inspections, but Jeb Bush ended them in 2000
  2. In 1995, Florida imported eight female Texas cougars and released them into the wild to breed with male panthers. Five successfully produced kittens that were free of the genetic defects that had been plaguing the purebred panthers. This 1995 photo depicts the release of one of the female Texas cougars. [Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission]
    Next they hope to use it to see how breeding panthers with Texas cougars affected the panthers’ DNA
  3. Richard Sajko of Valrico, FL talks about how he killed one of the two bears on the back of his pickup truck at the first Florida Black Bear hunt in 21 years at the Rock Springs Run Wildlife Management Area near Lake Mary Florida. 
(Saturday, October 24, 2015.) [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
    The 2015 hunt, the first in 21 years, caused so much controversy that wildlife officials put off deciding about another one until now
  4. University of Florida researchers hold a 15-foot Burmese python captured in Everglades National Park in 2009. The python had just eaten a 6-foot alligator. Florida has more invasive species than any other state.
    Citing cost, the Trump Administration shuts down 20-year-old advisory committee.
  5. Red Tide caused dead fish to wash on to Pinellas County beaches last fall. A new outbreak has been reported in Collier County in southwest Florida. [MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE   |   Times]
    A year after a 14-month toxic algae bloom plagued Florida, a new one erupts
  6. Tampa Bay Rays fans cheer on their team at Ferg's Sports Bar in downtown St. Petersburg Friday afternoon as the Rays played the Houston Astros in the American League Division Series in Houston.
    With the Tampa Bay Rays taking on the Houston Astros in Texas Friday afternoon, fans gathered to watch their team on TV.
  7. Edward K. Pearson's remains are carried in for his funeral on October 1, 2019 at the Sarasota National Cemetery in Sarasota, Florida.  Mr. Pearson did not leave any family behind, so the public was invited to attend.
    An estimated 1,500 people showed up at the ceremony held for Edward K. Pearson.
  8. Army veteran Edward K. Pearson died in Naples with no living relatives. A social media campaign that swept the country is expected to bring crowds to his interment at a Sarasota military cemetery.
    The national political community is rallying around the story of Edward K. Pearson.
  9. A Hawaii based company wants to launch the first-ever offshore fish farm in the Gulf of Mexico about 45 miles west of Sarasota. This would be its third after opening similar operations in Hawaii and Mexico. This photo shows the pen used in the Hawaii operation, which is similar to what's planned for the Gulf of Mexico. Photo by Rick Decker courtesy of Kampachi Farms
    Environmental & fishing groups oppose the Hawaii-based company’s plan.
  10. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis talks to reporters in Tampa on Aug. 21. Delays in his filling vacancies on the state's five water management district boards have twice led to those agencies canceling meetings to levy taxes and set budgets, which one expert said was unprecedented.
    Vacancies lead to canceling two agencies’ budget meetings.