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Personnel note: Peebles & Smith becomes Peebles, Smith & Matthews with hire of Ryan Matthews

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Peebles & Smith is now Peebles Smith & Matthews. The firm announced Monday that Ryan Matthews, who most recently served as the interim secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, has joined as a principal.

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A single candidate scores interview for DEP top job: Noah Valenstein

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Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet will interview a single candidate for the vacant secretary slot at the Department of Environmental Regulation — Noah Valenstein, a former environmental aide to the governor. His was the only name put forward for an interview during a meeting of aides to the governor and Cabinet Wednesday morning. “The governor would like to schedule an interview with Noah Valenstein,” Scott aide Kristin Olson said. “If there’s anybody else that any other principal would like…

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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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Florence Snyder: Ain’t no Sunshine where Scott’s gone

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Just in time for Sunshine Week, Tampa Bay Times environmental reporter Craig Pittman reminds us how focused, how ruthless, how relentless Gov. Rick Scott’s flacks are in their taxpayer-financed efforts to keep information out of the hands of taxpayers. Florida’s Ministries of Disinformation have been around since the Chiles administration, but “paranoia about the press” has ramped up significantly on Scott’s watch. Here’s how Connie Bersok, who devoted 30 years of her life to protecting Florida’s fragile wetlands, described current…

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Gwen Graham still not satisfied after receiving DEP records regarding Mosaic sinkhole issue

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham is speaking out critically about the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, after she reviewed public records regarding the massive sinkhole at Mosaic’s facility in Polk County. “Unless there are records that were not produced as required by law, the disclosures show an alarming lack of communication among state regulators about a threat to the health and safety of Florida families and our environment,” said Graham in a statement. “I am very concerned that we had a watchdog agency asleep at the wheel.”…

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Outcry grows over delay in warning about Mosaic sinkhole, contamination

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Neighbors of a huge sinkhole sending cascades of contaminated water and fertilizer plant waste into Florida’s main drinking-water aquifer are fearful and fuming that it took weeks for them to be notified about the disaster. Many are still waiting anxiously for results from tests for radiation and toxic chemicals in their well water. Meanwhile, the Mosaic Co. – one of the world’s largest producers of phosphate and potash for fertilizer – acknowledged Wednesday that the contamination had spread to groundwater…

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Gwen Graham wants to know why the DEP didn’t tell the public about Mosaic’s toxic sinkhole

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

Tallahassee U.S. Representative and potential gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham is blasting the Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection, claiming it failed local citizens by failing to alert them of the massive leak of contaminated water that occurred through a sinkhole at Mosaic’s New Wales Facility in Polk County last month.  The company did immediately inform the Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection and other agencies, but many members of the local community said they had no idea about it until they saw media reports about it last weekend. The DEP issued…

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