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CONTACT: Terri Durdaller, (850) 245-2112 or (850) 519-2897 (cell)

DEP Emphasizes Public Awareness during Environmental Crime Prevention Week

~DEP and Floridians remain committed to preserving the state?s natural resources~

TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is recognizing the 9th Annual Environmental Crime Prevention Week, April 11-17, 2010. Sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Environmental Crime Prevention Week is designed to increase awareness of environmental criminal activity and stress the importance of reporting such activity to the proper authorities.

?Environmental Crime Prevention Week is an opportunity to educate Floridians about environmental crimes, including tips on prevention, recognition, and reporting of potential violations,? said DEP Division of Law Enforcement Director Henry Barnet. ?By investigating environmental crimes, often as the result of citizen tips, DEP is putting a stop to environmental damage and protecting Florida?s resources for the future.?

In 2009, the DEP Division of Law Enforcement investigated more than 800 criminal complaints and responded to nearly 2,000 emergency response incidents involving releases of oil or hazardous materials. Many of these responses and investigations were received through #DEP and the State Warning Point.

Environmental crimes are violations of state or federal environmental laws that could impact public health and the environment, such as illegal dumping or improper disposal of used oil. Signs that an environmental crime has taken place could include corroded, leaking or abandoned waste containers; fish kills; illegal debris dumping in a natural area; or foul smelling or unsightly discharges or visible sheens on the ground or water body. Environmental crimes should be reported to appropriate law enforcement officials, such as DEP?s Division of Law Enforcement or the State Warning Point, for investigation and enforcement actions.

Illegal solid and hazardous waste disposal is a primary focus of DEP?s Division of Law Enforcement, as illegal dumping can adversely affect underlying aquifers, which are the source for more than 90 percent of the state?s drinking water supply.

DEP?s Division of Law Enforcement is responsible for statewide environmental resource law enforcement, as well as providing law enforcement services to Florida?s state parks and greenways and trails. Division personnel from the three operational bureaus patrol state lands; investigate environmental resource crimes; and respond to natural disasters, civil unrest, hazardous material incidents and oil spills that threaten the environment.

To report an environmental crime, wireless customers can dial #DEP. Callers can also report environmental crimes to the State Warning Point by calling (877) 2-SAVE-FL (1.877.272.8335). General environmental inquiries should be directed to DEP district offices during normal business hours. For more information about DEP?s Division of Law Enforcement, visit www.dep.state.fl.us/law. To view the Governor?s Proclamation, visit http://www.dep.state.fl.us/secretary/news/2010/04/files/ecp.pdf

drum and bucket in field

"Environmental Crime Prevention Week is an opportunity to educate Floridians about environmental crimes, including tips on prevention, recognition, and reporting of potential violations."

Henry Barnet
DEP Division of Law Enforcement Director



Last updated: April 16, 2010

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