NASA Floats Air Quality 'Spy Balloons' Over Florida

NASA Floats Air Quality 'Spy Balloons' Over Florida

Javier Manjarres
Javier Manjarres
April 5, 2023

It’s a bird! It’s a plane. It’s a Chinese spy balloon.  No, it’s a NASA low-cost air monitors hovering over Florida farmlands.

Actually, the PurpleAir monitors don't actually float away or hover, but they can be affixed just about everywhere, including weather balloons.

Why is NASA, which is administered by former Senator Bill Nelson, spending taxpayer dollars to gauge the air quality in Florida, when according to the  Florida Department of Environmental Protections, air quality in the state is the best it has ever been, and has “one of the best outdoor air quality monitoring networks in the country?”

Enter the Progressive environmental groups.

The controversial practice of cane burning is at the heart of Florida’s air quality drama, and the reason why special interest groups have reverted to reaching out to NASA for help in order to try to get a better outcome than the one they received from Florida's EPA.

Progressive environmental groups like the Sierra Club, and Friends of the Everglades, coupled with the so-called “non-profit” newsroom, ProPublica, have continued to claim air polluted from prescribed burning in South Florida, even under Gov. Ron DeSantis's watch.

A 2022 “investigation” conducted by ProPublica and The Palm Beach Post attempted to link prescribed sugarcane burning to poor air quality in a blog post titled, “Burning Sugar Cane Pollutes Communities of Color in Florida. Brazil Snows There’s Another Way.”

The reporter for the Palm Beach Post/ Pro-Publica, recently praised the NASA grant for the monitors.

“The study is poised to be the most comprehensive of its kind in Florida’s sugar region,” said Lulu Ramadan.

Now Florida members of Congress, who hold NASA’s funding purse strings, are beginning to express their distaste for the use of taxpayer dollars to fund this program.

Rep. Greg Steube (R) equated NASA’s use of the monitors as a “Green New Deal agenda item.”

“NASA’s pollution tracker is nothing but a Green New Deal agenda item. At a time when Florida’s emissions are at an all time low, using our taxpayer funding to track pollution - instead of focusing on the many real threats facing Americans - just doesn’t make sense,” stated Rep. Greg Steube (R) in response to The Floridian’s request for comment.

Newly-elected Congressman Cory Mills (R) went as far as to call the space agency’s air monitors as “spy balloons.”

“Wasteful government spending is at the top of the congressional agenda. NASA’s so-called ‘air quality’ monitoring spy balloons, or whatever you want to call those monitors, is a perfect example of the out-of-control government spending the Republican-led House of Representatives has vowed to stop. Congress will put an end to this frivolous spending, one way or another,” said Rep. Cory Mills.

Cane burning season runs from October through May.

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Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres is a nationally renowned award-winning political journalist and Publisher of,,, and He enjoys traveling, playing soccer, mixed martial arts, weight-lifting, swimming, and biking. Javier is also a political consultant and has also authored "BROWN PEOPLE," which is a book about Hispanic Politics. Follow on Twitter: @JavManjarres Email him at

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