Stuart, Fla.U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) today demanded that Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Commissioner Nikki Fried stop violating a law designed to ensure accountability for polluters in Florida and restore Florida’s polluted waterways.  

The Clean Waterways Act, which went into effect on July 1, 2020, requires FDACS to gather data on the total amount of nitrogen and phosphorus used on properties participating in the Best Management Practices (BMP) program. Additionally, FDACS must complete site visits to confirm BMP participants are implementing best management practices, and the law mandates that Fried submit these records to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) each quarter.  

Although the law went into effect on July 1, 2020, FDEP has not yet received any of this data from FDACS.  As a result, polluters in Florida are being given a free pass while Florida’s residents are having their lives put at risk.  A recent algal bloom at the Pahokee Marina tested more than 100 times too toxic for human contact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.  

“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,” Rep. Mast said. “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.”

A copy of the letter that Rep. Mast sent to Commissioner Fried can be found below.