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Environmental attorney calls notification change “window dressing”

September 27th, 2016 by Mike Vasilinda

Governor Rick Scott toured the sinkhole at a phosphate mine in Polk County today, a day after he announced an emergency rule that would require residents to be notified if a spill occurs. Scott and the Department of Environmental Protection were widely criticized for not saying anything to nearby residents when 215 million gallons of radioactive wastewater drained into the acquire until after a report by WFLA’s Steve Andrews detailed the spill. Environmental attorney David Guest calls the new rule window dressing.

“Well, it’s an improvement, but it’s kind of ironic the Governor is doing this because they have fostered a culture of secrecy at DEP and the Governor’s office that is worse than in living memory. It comes as no surprise that it took weeks for them to disclose a threat to drinking water because of that culture. I think its going to get worse before it gets better. This is window dressing for a major problem” says Guest, who previously worked for Earth Justice before going into private practice.

DEP refused interviews after the spill became public. A week ago Scott told reporters that DEP was doing a good job handling the spill. Today, he didn’t answer a direct question on what has changed since that statement.

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