State funding announced to permanently close Piney Point gyp stack
MANATEE COUNTY – Flanked by County Commissioners and Manatee County delegation members, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis this morning announced that unprecedented state resources will be used to address the process water at Piney Point.
The Governor today directed $15.4 million within the Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) budget to be reallocated to Piney Point for "innovative technologies to pre-treat water at the site for nutrients, in the event further discharges are needed."
He said rigorous water quality monitoring will continue in order to fully measure the ecological impacts of the process water that has been discharged into Piney Creek and, ultimately, Tampa Bay near Port Manatee.
"We want this to be the last chapter of the Piney Point story, so today I'm directing DEP to create a plan to close the site," DeSantis told local media this morning from Piney Point. "I have requested that DEP's team of engineers and scientists develop plans for the permanent closure of this site including identifying the necessary resources to do so."
Beyond DeSantis's initial $15.4 million commitment, Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson said he is working closely with the Governor and DEP staff to formulate an appropriations request of $100 million for legislators to consider as a first installment payment this year. If more is needed, Florida lawmakers will include any additional needs as part of next year's budget.
DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein said his team of scientists and engineers is closely measuring the environmental impacts of the uncontrolled discharge at Piney Point so that "we can fully hold (property owner) HRK fully accountable."
DeSantis commended the state and local teams that responded around the clock to successfully address the threat to public safety and manage the uncontrolled discharge of process water into Piney Creek. Dr. Scott Hopes, Manatee County Administrator, thanked the Governor for taking decisive action to mitigate the risk to public safety and the environment.