Motivation notwithstanding, Teele's "proactive" boast to the governing board is a little misleading. Dade's commitment to an omnibus cleanup program at the airport was prompted by intense state and federal scrutiny. Likewise, state enforcement and a federal lawsuit forced the county to confront the realities of its aging sewer system.
Some environmental regulators, in fact, remain wary about Dade's newfound concern for South Florida's environment. "I want to feel good about the county's commitments because clearly these commitments will protect the county's water supplies and Biscayne Bay," comments one state water manager who requested anonymity. "I'm left, however, with a nagging question: Is this a unique outcome driven by the prospect of lost economic opportunity to the county, or is the county seriously committed to protecting public health and the environment as a cost associated with economic development? I want to believe the latter.