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Gov't scientist accused of sample tampering

Florida chemist may be fired for using too few technical codes on samples after he reports high levels of water pollution

Kirsten Weir
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has accused Thomas White, the manager of the agency's Port St. Lucie laboratory, of "generating and reporting deceptive or fraudulent lab results." At issue is nearly five years' worth of monitoring data from South Florida waters, including the Everglades and Lake Okeechobee. In many cases, the data reveal high pollution levels that would establish the waterways as impaired under the Clean Water Act.The DEP is reviewing White's case and considering termination. White, who has worked for the Florida DEP for over twenty years, has declined to speak to the press while the decision is pending. Attorney Jerry Phillips, Florida director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility(PEER), is representing White. "Tom White adamantly denies that there is any fraud," Phillips told The Scientist.The program manager at the Port St. Lucie branch deferred all questions to DEP spokesperson Stephen Webster and told The Scientist...

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