Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Reader's Question ... by gimleteye

After another critical piece on the Growth Machine and the frozen politics of Florida, a reader who is a former environmental regulator wrote me, "How come you're so hard on these guys but so soft on the resource guys?" It is a good question and its underlying premise is true: there are plenty of examples where the mission of environmental regulators in government agencies is dissolved by the corrosive acid of careerism, incompetence, fearfulness, real political pressure and taking the easy way out.

But at the same time, there are also examples of outstanding scientists and regulators who fight, every working day, against the currents that pull agencies away from their missions. Would it be more helpful to them, if I spent more energy pushing back on their behalf than at the force behind the currents: dismal politics? There is zero coverage in the mainstream press of the push and pull within regulatory agencies, except when politics at the highest level clearly interfere with science. Maybe our readers will help me with this question.


andrew said...

From Bloomberg today:

"MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, the most-populous county in the southeastern U.S., plans to sell almost $600 million of bonds backed by net revenue from its combined water and sewer systems to fund capital improvements. Underwriters led by Raymond James Financial Inc. will market the paper to investors as soon as next week. The county’s water and sewer revenue bond rating was cut by Fitch to A from A+ this month. Moody’s rates them A1 and Standard & Poor’s assigns its A+ grade. (Added Feb. 17)"

Anonymous said...

I'll take a stab at that. All one has to do is look around south FL to see the result of lax environmental regulation and enforcement over the last few decades. It's not due to lack of laws and regulations that's for sure. Read Craig Pittman's book on the no net loss of wetlands debacle in FL, investigate the mitigation bank scams, look at the sacrifice zones, the beat up reefs, the stagnant mentality and regs in the FKNMS, the beat up seagrass flats in Everglades NP, degraded water qulaity throughout, and the nonsensical reliance by agencies on something called ecosystem. management. Who's to blame? Me?, You? How about the countless hundreds of bureaucrats in env. regulation programs drawing paychecks and then retirement if they just manage to hold on? Where are the whistleblowers? Where are the regulators turned advocates who know where the problems lie? Those you describe as quality are there for sure but they're in a minority and mostly go along to get along hoping for a better day which obviously is not coming.

Excellent laws were implemented in the 1970s and here it is 2010 and problems are worse than ever. And whose to blame? Those getting paid well with public funds to implement those rules and it's not the low-level biologists/scientists - it's the folks at the next level that make the decisions as to what the priorities are and how they will be implemented. And remember the hard lessons in south FL - it's a lot more efficient and better in the long run to protect resources than it is to pretend like we can "restore" them later.

Kick some butt and take names - and then report those names. We can't all be friends - even though I know we all just want to get along. And, again, where are the whistleblowers? Where are the conservation groups willing to stand up and complain?

Mensa said...

I can not understand to problem. I find it simple. I even know some of the criminals who pay off the people in charge so that regulations will not apply to their clients. Stop the power of bribers and arrest all who accept bribes in any form, whether it be the promise of a great job when they retire or large donations to a fund for reelection. If the public would clear out every politician now in office and have term limits, most of our problems would vanish.

Anonymous said...

Its starts with the executive directors of the SFWMD,DEP,And commissioners of each county they are corrupt to the core.Jeb Bush brought in Henry Dean and pulled off one of the biggest rip-offs of the century.We paid 217 MILLION for a 1200 acre hole at Palm Beach Aggregates the owner in turn used the money to bribe 4 county commissioners that we know of 3
are in prison.The board members of SFWMD also took a cut Warren Newell's partner Dan Shalloway sold out every resident of Indian Trail and funded his company Engenuity on the backs of every taxpayer.All these people are parasites.The fact that five people issue every water use permit in the state of Florida is a crime.The fact that the so called environmentalists have compromised and sold out doesn't help look at Eric Draper.The FBI would have to indict Jeb then the dominos would fall.

Anonymous said...

Yep, G-eye is right on target with this one. I spent years employed by
various "resource" agencies and battling those deadly riptide currents. I
certainly would have welcomed someone like G-eye telling the public what was
really going on behind those closed doors - at the expense of the tax-payers
and the environment!
RipTide Torn