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.

BP oil spill

INFOGRAPHIC: How the ‘BP money’ flows to area

How does money to repair the damage caused on the Gulf Coast by the BP oil spill flow to the area? At a glance, we'll tell you. Read full story


Second air monitor added in Wedgewood

Escambia County has added a second air quality monitor in the Wedgewood neighborhood, with two more to come to track hydrogen sulfide levels in the area. Read full story


Rolling Hills saga rolls on

DEP, Rolling Hills owners to meet; county delays new landfill ordinance to clarify language

This week, Florida DEP, Rolling Hills owners to meet; Escambia Commissioners delayed new landfill ordinance to clarify language. Read full story


Oil spill-related research dollars drive new understanding of Gulf

UWF's Center for Environmental Diagnostics and Bioremediation well positioned to answer calls for research in the Gulf of Mexico following BP oil spill. Read full story


Remembering Hurricane Dennis 10 years later

Hurricane Dennis made its mark on the Panhandle and Santa Rosa County a decade ago this week. Dennis came ashore near Gulf Breeze at about 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 10, 2005. Read full story


Volunteering to be a beach’s best friend

Ocean Hour volunteers doing their part to clean up a corner of paradise

The Ocean Hour concept: Pick a spot of shoreline and invite some friends for an hour of cleanup. Remove garbage. Network. Repeat. Read full story


Cleanup plan for Rolling Hills calls for recycling debris

Owners of the now closed Rolling Hills construction demolition and debris landfill are developing a cleanup plan that calls for excavating and recycling waste on the property. DEP awaits detailed plans. Read full story


“BP oil spill money” pots at a glance

Thursday's settlement in the BP oil spill brought a historic price tag -- but it is just one of many pots of "oil spill money" coming to the area. Read full story


BP settles for $18.7 billion

Some $5.5 billion in penalties BP will pay will come under the Clean Water Act. That is the pot of money that local RESTORE Act funds will come from. Read full story


Open-air trolleys coming to Pensacola Beach

Three new open-air trolleys will make their debut ahead of July 4 weekend on Santa Rosa Island. At 9 a.m. July 2, the trolley will be rolled out in a grand opening event at Gulfside Pavilion. Read full story


Settlement in Gulf Power coal ash suit

Environmental groups, Gulf Power reached a settlement on lawsuit related to coal ash ponds at plant near the Apalachicola River. Read full story


Try a green summer camp at Roy Hyatt Center

Escambia County is hosting an environmental summer camp at the Roy Hyatt Center July 20-24 for first- through fifth-graders. Read full story