Craig Pittman, The Florida Phoenix

Craig Pittman

The Florida Phoenix

St. Petersburg, FL, United States

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Recent:
  • The Florida Phoenix
Past:
  • Tampa Bay Times
  • The Miami Herald
  • Bradenton Herald
  • TBO.com
  • Slate

Recent articles by Craig:

Florida developers want to scare you into letting them have their way

In case you hadn’t noticed the big mushroom cloud rising over Tallahassee, the state Legislature has begun gearing up for its next session in March. As usual, the legislators have already been dropping bombshells left and right. Mostly right. You’ve probably read about a few of the wackier bills that were filed by last week’s […] → Read More

If Gov. DeSantis really wants to oust officials, here’s a list

Let’s name some names on who should get a pink slip. → Read More

Screwy plan for a new Florida city outrages its rural neighbors

When anyone asks me the weirdest place in our very weird state of Florida, I always say it’s Pasco County. In addition to the usual mix of sketchy politicians and scummy developers, Pasco has the most sinkholes in the state. It’s got more nudist resorts than the rest of the country. The Klan once adopted […] → Read More

Florida legislators get away with their Amendment 1 heist — for now

The Florida Legislature convened Tuesday for its regular 60-day session, so I hope you boarded up your windows and got your family to a shelter. This is not a traditional storm but rather a time when, as Orlando Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell put it recently, “Tallahassee will be filled with more manure than a pasture […] → Read More

Big Sugar burns fields, bends DeSantis and FL Legislature to do its bidding

When my kids were younger and in Boy Scouts, I enjoyed going camping with them around the state. We’d splash in the springs, paddle the rivers, tromp through the swamps. The day’s adventures would always end with a campfire – and a problem. Campfires are essential to making s’mores, but oh, that smoke! Somehow the […] → Read More

Hiding Piney Point toxic waste underground may give us a taste of super-nasty water

On Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis held a press conference at Piney Point, the old phosphate processing plant near Tampa Bay. Only a week earlier, Piney Point was making international headlines for being the source of a potential toxic waste disaster — not for the first time. Now the crisis had been averted, and DeSantis didn’t […] → Read More

Herbicide used in FL as a cure-all is more like a kill-all

Can you imagine what life was like for Florida’s earliest occupants? Think of the unrelenting heat that led them to name so many places after Hell. Think of the rugged terrain, full of sharp-edged sawgrass and thorny thickets blocking every effort to pass. Think of how hard it was to combat all the skeeters and […] → Read More

Feds said manatees weren’t endangered — now they’re dying in droves

Two months ago, everybody got pretty excited when a Citrus County boat captain snapped photos showing some prankster had scraped out five letters in the algae growing on a manatee’s back. The letters spelled out the name of a certain former president now residing in Palm Beach. Amid the widespread outrage, people suggested various punishments […] → Read More

Panthers are popular on FL license plates – but the cats themselves, not so much

Have you ever seen a Florida panther? They’re sleek and secretive apex predators who slip around in the twilight and full dark seeking deer and hogs to eat. They tend to avoid humans at all times – in part because we seldom do them anything but harm. This is why there are waaaay more cars […] → Read More

Development would’ve wiped out this FL habitat, but Destiny took a hand

Don’t you just love a good Florida story? I sure do. Not just the short ones, like the one about the Gainesville driver in a road range incident who accidentally ran over himself. I love the longer ones, too, the ones that take a few twists and turns and wind up with a surprise at […] → Read More

Fishy business with FL Legislature’s push for wells north of Lake O

My dad has always enjoyed fishing. When I was a kid, he loved taking me with him and showing me how to bait the hook, cast the line, and not freak out when my rod suddenly bent double. One important thing I learned from him was that a placid surface can be deceptive. A lot […] → Read More

Floridians, be thankful for the pains in the butt

Jackie Lane knows a lot of people think she’s a pain in the butt. They wish she would just shut up and sit down. Stop causing so many problems for the paper mill near Pensacola. Stop putting people’s jobs at risk. “The community is not particularly fond of environmental activists,” she told me this week. […] → Read More

Ignoring Legislature, Central Florida voters say clean water is a right

Not a lot of people noticed it, but something pretty interesting happened in Florida during last week’s election. No, I don’t mean the fact that the state most vulnerable to climate change somehow decided to cast more votes for the presidential candidate who has claimed climate change is a hoax (a claim lacking any evidence […] → Read More

A whale of a tale gets a happy ending (for now)

The world’s most endangered whales got some good news last week. It’s quite a tale. Before he came down with coronavirus due to consistently ignoring what scientists told him, President Donald J. Trump visited Florida last month to announce he was ordering a halt to any plans for offshore drilling near our Atlantic coast. Of […] → Read More

Handing federal wetlands permitting to FL DEP is an idea that’s all wet

Florida is best known for its gorgeous beaches, but we also have a lot of wetlands. Bogs, swamps, marshes, you name it, we’ve got ’em — more than any other state besides Alaska. Some are famous — everyone’s heard of the Everglades — but most are just anonymous soggy spots that help recharge our underground […] → Read More

Musings on Florida and the politics of pythons

A year ago, I tagged along with a couple of professional python hunters searching the Everglades for the big snakes. We spent six hours slowly cruising up and down a levee road, with super-bright lamps atop their car turning the night into day, in hopes of catching sight of one of the slithering invaders. We […] → Read More

On FL's Rainbow River, something nearly miraculous happened: A developer listened to reason

One of the most delightful ways to spend a summer day in Florida is to ride an inner tube down a spring-fed river. I’ve probably tubed down Marion County’s Rainbow River half a dozen times. Except for one time when I got turned around backward and nearly ran over a family of frolicking otters, that […] → Read More

Why is the governor leaving important environmental posts unfilled?

One of the trickiest jobs a governor has is picking the right people to run various state agencies. Ideally, he or she must find people who have a good background in that field who are willing to put in the hours and who will do the kind of job that will serve the public. A […] → Read More

Is a big phosphate company using legal tactics to scare FL environmentalists?

I want to be clear about one thing, right up front. This is all perfectly legal. In an area of Florida where water use has been sharply restricted for 28 years, state officials have been allowing the nation’s largest phosphate company to pump millions of gallons of water out of the ground every day., One […] → Read More

RE: Florida boaters. Shouldn’t we expect them to have learned how to avoid hitting each other?

Have you ever gone really fast on a boat? Your vessel leaps across the waves like a thoroughbred jumping a series of fences. The engines roar, spray flies in your face, the slipstream rushes past your ears. The experience is so exhilarating! Right up until the crash, that is. According to a report released last … → Read More