A Pinellas County, Florida, environmental specialist was recently recorded in a video telling a resident that it was somehow illegal for the smoke from his home barbecue to leave his property.
The video, which is now going viral, shows Pinellas County environmental specialist Joe Graham issuing a warning to resident Scotty Jordan, saying that he can be cited for allowing the smoke and odor of his cookouts to leave his property. The video has been viewed on Jordan’s Facebook page over 4 million times.
Pinellas County authorities insist that Jordan could have violated air quality rules.
But on the video, one of Jordan’s friends can be heard saying incredulously, “We can’t control the wind, God does that.”
To some, the video is proof of a government gone wild demanding absurd things from residents—like somehow being expected to keep smoke and cooking odors on one’s own property.
However, Pinellas County authorities note that Jordan has a long list of complaints from neighbors who have been upset over the “pungent smells” constantly coming from his commercial-grade grill. There are 15 prior complaints of which 14 come from the same neighbor, county officials say.
Since the video stirred such debate over the government’s action, Pinellas County administrator Mark Woodard has hastened to note that Jordan wasn’t ticketed or fined for the air quality violation. Woodward says that the environmental specialist was only sent to Jordan’s house to educate him on the laws.
Since his video went viral, Jordan returned to Facebook to remark on the phenomenon: “Since last week when I posted the video of the Pinellas County environmentalist Regarding the so-called violation for BBQ smoke. I Didn’t expect it to go this far, But I always believe everything happens for a reason. God puts situtions [sic] and life experiences in front of you. It’s up to you To realize them,” Jordan wrote on Sunday.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston, or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.