Today US Congressman Brian Mast (R-FL) called out the "progressive" Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried (D-FL) for violating a law that hurts efforts to restore Florida's waterways and benefits water polluters.
The Clean Waterway Act, which went into effect last Summer, requires the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) to gather data on the total amount of nitrogen and phosphorus used on properties participating in the Best Management Practices Program (BMP).
FDACS also must complete site visits to confirm BMP participants are implementing best management practices. Meaning that the law mandates that Fried submit these records to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) each quarter.
Although this law has already gone into effect, FDEP has not received any data from FDACS. As a result, pollution numbers in Florida are running wild, with its contributors evaded accountability.
The controversy prompted Rep. Mast, a frequent commentator on Florida's environment, to call out Fried.
" Commissioner Fried needs to stop using her taxpayer-funded office to shield polluters from scrutiny and immediately send all records gathered in compliance with the Clean Waterways Act to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection," the representative adds, "This data could provide critical insight to scientists in Florida in order to take steps to improve our state’s water quality. Unfortunately, Commissioner Fried has proven to be an impediment to this goal. Thankfully, the law is clear, so even if cleaning up Florida’s waterways is not a top priority for her, the law says she must release this data ASAP."
Fried has yet to respond, but the Floridian will report any updates as they develop.