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Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Personnel note: Karl Rasmussen leaving Governor’s Office

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Karl Rasmussen, Gov. Rick Scott‘s deputy chief of staff, is departing the Governor’s Office for a lobbying job at the Meenan Law Firm, name partner Tim Meenan confirmed Friday. “Watching him from afar, I noticed he is one of the stars in the Capitol,” Meenan said in a phone interview. “He’s quiet, diligent and effective—the first thing you notice about him is his calm demeanor.” Rasmussen, a deputy chief of staff since late 2014, will focus his lobbying efforts in some of…

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Sources: Noah Valenstein set to become next DEP head

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Noah Valenstein, Gov. Rick Scott‘s former environmental policy coordinator, has the inside track to become the next secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, sources tell FloridaPolitics.com. Valenstein, now the executive director of the Suwannee River Water Management District, is the top pick over interim secretary Ryan Matthews. Scott and the Cabinet in February OK’d Matthews to serve as interim department head to fill in for departing secretary Jon Steverson. He quit in January to join the legal-lobbying firm of Foley & Lardner. Valenstein attended an August 2014 meeting in…

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Public gets another shot at suggesting fixes to St. Pete’s ‘Sewer-gate’

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

It’s a crisis that’s become something of a boondoggle — and, moreover, a public health issue. Now St. Petersburg’s overwhelmed and dilapidated sewer system is again at the forefront as officials held another round of public discussions in the costly and complex issue of best to go about fixing the problem. The topic of the evening, as reported by The Tampa Bay Times, a 12-page consent order written by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) – faulting city officials when…

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Faulty sinkhole reporting becomes hard lesson on rushing to judgment

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Big business is not automatically bad business. The Tampa Bay Times learned a hard lesson about assumptions and the truth this week after publishing the opinions of two retired scientists who accused Mosaic Co. and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection of ignoring warnings of a growing sinkhole on Mosaic property. While the allegations fed into a popular narrative of a nefarious corporation and government incompetence which led an environmental crisis, the claims were also something else. They were simply…

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Mosaic pushes back hard against Tampa Bay Times over sinkhole reporting

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Following a report from the Tampa Bay Times’ Craig Pittman regarding the sinkhole that opened up on Mosaic Fertilizer’s property in late 2016, the company sent out a scathing rebuke to media alleging Pittman “continues to provide a platform for false information.” In the report, Pittman interviewed Don Rice, a former hydrologist from the U.S. Geological Survey, who alleges the company should have seen the signs of a sinkhole forming. Jackie Barron, a Mosaic spokeswoman, said the claims made in Pittman’s…

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Bradenton Herald, neighbors give thumbs up to Mosaic Wingate Mine expansion

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This week, the Mosaic Company is asking Manatee County commissioners to approve a zoning change that will allow the Polk County-based firm to expand its Wingate Mine property by more than 3,600 acres. The request by the world’s largest manufacturer of phosphate-based fertilizers is garnering support from several of Mosaic’s residential neighbors, as well as the editorial board of the Bradenton Herald. Linda C. Eneix of Myakka City wrote the commission in support, calling Mosaic an “exemplary” corporate neighbor. “Mosaic…

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Richard Corcoran walks the walk, denies extra $13M for DEP water war

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

His job as Florida House Speaker requires Richard Corcoran to make some tough calls, but this one had to be easy for a man whose stated mission is to clean up the way Tallahassee operates. While some politicians talk with a swagger (here’s looking at you, Marco Rubio) but don’t want the ball when the game is on the line, Corcoran has shown that his deeds match his words. He was at it again Monday when the Florida Department of…

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