The environment is deeply linked with this community’s economic prospects. Visit Pensacola, the area’s tourism development and promotion agency noted that the area’s natural resources are among its chief strengths in the tourism market.
But this community has mixed environmental legacy. Investigating a massive fill kill in Escambia Bay was one of the first projects the newly created U.S. Environmental Protection Agency undertook. In 1999, an environmental grand jury was convened in Escambia County. The report that panel issued found that the air and water quality of this community were degraded by industry discharges including a sewage treatment plant on the waterfront, a pulp and paper mill, chemical factories and stormwater runoff.
It also found that state and local governments failed to properly protect those environmental assets.
In 2004, the City of Pensacola instituted a stormwater fee to create a designated revenue stream for projects to better treat stormwater. Later that decade, the community and local government rallied to find the funding to move the Main Street Wastewater treatment plant out of downtown. That opened the door to redevelopment of downtown that continues to this day.
The lawful management of these resources, and the efforts to restore them to a healthy status is important to the Pensacola area’s quality of life and future economic growth.
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