Thursday, July 19, 2018


Craig Pittman

Craig Pittman

Tampa Bay Times reporter Craig Pittman is a native Floridian. He graduated from Troy State University in Alabama, where his muckraking work for the student paper prompted an agitated dean to label him "the most destructive force on campus." Since then he has covered a variety of newspaper beats and quite a few natural disasters, including hurricanes, wildfires and the Florida Legislature. Since 1998 he has reported on environmental issues for the Times. He is a four-time winner of the Waldo Proffitt Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism in Florida and a series of stories on Florida's vanishing wetlands that he wrote with Matthew Waite won the top investigative reporting award in both 2006 and 2007 from the Society of Environmental Journalists. He is the author of four books: "The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal, and the World's Most Beautiful Orchid" (2012); "Manatee Insanity: Inside the War Over Florida's Most Famous Endangered Species," (2010); and, co-written with Waite, "Paving Paradise: Florida's Vanishing Wetlands and the Failure of No Net Loss," (2009). His new book, < a href=""> "Oh, Florida! How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country,"hits stores in July 2016. He lives in St. Petersburg with his wife and two children.

Archaeologist Scott Bierly holds a shard of pottery found at the Etna Camp, a Citrus County turpentine camp from the late 1800s that's on the National Historic Register but is now slated for destruction by the second leg of the Suncoast Parkway.

Group suing to save historic site from toll road construction gives up

The group that briefly blocked the construction of the Suncoast 2 toll road through Hernando and Citrus counties has now waved the white flag.The Friends of Etna Turpentine Camp, who were trying to save the
Published: 07/18/18
Miami Herald 
An algae bloom on Lake Okeechobee\u2019s east shore surrounds boats docked at the Pahokee Marina on July 11.\uFEFF

Leaky septic tanks fuel algae blooms. Rick Scott OK’d repeal of law aimed to prevent that

With toxic algae blooms now erupting all over Florida — from the St. Johns River to Lake Okeechobee as well as on both coasts — scientists are pointing a finger at one likely fuel source: pollution from leaking septic tanks.There are more than...
Published: 07/18/18
Environmental crusader Nathaniel

Nathaniel Reed, Florida environmental advocate and co-author of the Endangered Species Act, dies at 84

Nathaniel "Nat" Reed, 84, a Hobe Sound resident whose childhood ardor for Florida’s natural wonders led to him becoming a tireless crusader for the environment, died in a Quebec hospital Wednesday, according to his family.In a long career spent...
Published: 07/11/18
Judge allows Suncoast 2 construction to proceed, paving over historic site

Judge allows Suncoast 2 construction to proceed, paving over historic site

A federal judge’s ruling has cleared the way for reviving construction of the controversial Suncoast 2 toll road in Citrus County, even though the road that would connect it to Interstate 75 has been put on the back burner.Work on the road had...
Published: 07/10/18
Updated: 07/11/18
Florida is awash in toxic algae blooms right now, with Red Tide lingering on the Southwest Florida coast for nearly nine months, and blue-green algae covering most of Lake Okeechobee and now showing up in rivers on both coasts. Charter fishing captain Mike Connor of Stuart took these photos of the St. Lucie River showing how widespread the blue-green algae has become in his region. Because of climate change,

Florida’s summertime slime fueled by climate change as well as pollution

Florida is awash in toxic algae right now.Blue-green algae covers 90 percent of Lake Okeechobee. It’s now grown thick in the canals connecting the lake to the St. Lucie River on the east coast, as well as in the Caloosahatchee River near Fort...
Published: 07/06/18
Updated: 07/09/18
LOUIE CHIN   |   Special to the Times

Dreams of a new Florida damaged the original, but maybe it's not too late to restore it

Sometimes living in Florida can seem like we’re trapped in some bizarre science fiction scenario.
Published: 07/06/18
An April 21, 2010 file photo taken more than 50 miles southeast of the Louisiana tip of the burning Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Scientisits from the University of South Florida's College of Marine Sciences and their colleagues recently completed the first-ever comprehensive study of what fish and other wildlife call the gulf their home in the wake of the BP disaster. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

USF-led study discovers what lives in the gulf after BP disaster

Eight years ago, when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank off Louisiana, one of the big problems facing scientists trying to assess the damage caused by the oil spill was that no one knew much about what lives in the Gulf of...
Published: 07/06/18
One of many protest signs around horse country in Ocala where there several proposed routes of the Coastal Connector highway would slice up farms in Marion County. The state said late Friday it is now postponing the project. [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times]

Whoa! State postpones controversial toll road through horse farms

Gov. Rick Scott’s office announced late Friday that it is postponing any further work on a controversial toll road called the Coastal Connector that upset horse farmers in the Ocala area.The announcement was made in a letter from Department of...
Updated one month ago
JIM DAMASKE   |   Times
Polly Benson's horse

Marion County’s horse farm owners say ‘Whoa!’ to proposed toll road

Drive through the rolling hills of Marion County and it’s hard to miss why the official slogan is "Horse Capital of the World."The Florida Department of Transportation wants to build a new toll road called the Coastal Connector right through...
Updated one month ago
T.J. Ward shows a freshly shucked oyster from his water lease 609 in Apalachicola, Florida on November 18, 2017. The Florida-Georgia-Alabama water war has been blamed for cutting the flow of water to Apalachicola Bay, ruining the oyster industry. [EVE EDELHEIT | Times]

Supreme Court finally rules on Florida’s 30-year water war with Georgia. And it’s not over.

The U.S. Supreme Court gave Florida another chance to show that Georgia’s upstream water use should be capped to save the Panhandle’s oyster industry in a ruling Wednesday that stopped short of resolving a nearly 30-year-old dispute.In a 5-4...
Updated one month ago