When Jeff Littlejohn walked into the number-two post at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in March 2011, there was no way he could have foreseen the PR crapfest that was coming. And no group has been as relentless in exposing his industry-first approach to environmental protection and fueling the crapfest as Public Employes For Environmental Responsibility.
This week, PEER put out a beautifully scathing review of a recent op-ed written by Littlejohn and said DEP was unable to provide necessary documentation to prove the veracity of Littlejohn's article.
In the opinion piece, which was published in several places, Littlejohn wrote:
Compliance rates across the department's regulatory programs are generally 90 percent or higher... Statewide, we've seen the rate for significant noncompliance in hazardous waste facilities drop from almost 10 percent in 2009 to about 2 percent so far this year. This improvement has been accomplished even as total penalty amounts in that program have decreased significantly... And, as compliance goes up, overall penalty collections may, in fact, go down. DEP is not in the business of collecting money.
When PEER asked for the documentation to back these claims, however, the agency forked over a single spread sheet that was allegedly created after Littlejohn wrote and published the article.
Best of all is that the opinion piece was in response to a PEER analysis that tore apart the department for failing to enforce its own rules and "causing an implosion in agency anti-pollution enforcement."
PEER also attacked DEP for cutting jobs and said the agency "has begun to shed up to one-fifth of its already shrinking workforce."
"This is fantasy masquerading as public policy,"Jerry Phillips, director of Florida PEER, said in a statement. "It's like laying off traffic cops because speeders promise to observe posted limits rather than pay a ticket."
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