January 28, 2010
Florida Water Quality Coalition, Inc.
Contact: Cathy Vogel
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Water Quality Coalition today joined a chorus of Florida voices expressing concerns over the EPA’s recent proposal to impose water quality concentration standards for nitrogen and phosphorus, naturally occurring nutrients, in Florida’s inland waters such as streams, lakes, springs and even manmade canals.
According to state environmental officials, the standards are so restrictive that they may be impossible to meet. The technology to clean stormwater, floodwater, reclaimed water, and generally any discharges of water to these levels of nutrients – that in many cases are lower than those levels found in pristine waters – simply does not exist.
Of most concern to the Florida Water Quality Coalition is the fact that much of the underlying data and technical information on which these proposed standards have been based have not to date been available to affected businesses, utilities, agricultural operations, local governments, drainage districts, water management districts and other impacted public and private entities. Until interested parties have a chance to analyze the models, selected streams, canals and other waterbodies on which these statistically derived regulations have been calculated, all Floridians are at a disadvantage.
The Coalition joins the Florida Pulp & Paper Association and others in requesting the EPA Administrator to extend the public comment period from the date that all scientific and technical data are finally made available to concerned citizens and businesses. Millions of dollars are being spent by affected property owners, water and wastewater utilities, state and local governments and water management districts to research the effects that these unilateral federal regulations will have on the people and businesses of Florida – not to mention the programs, projects and infrastructure that provide basic services such as water delivery, flood protection, wastewater management and even environmental restoration.
Floridians have a right to know the information and scientific basis upon which the federal government is proposing to single out Florida with the most restrictive nutrient standards in the nation. Unless and until the federal government provides transparency and basic public information in this process, Florida stakeholders and their elected officials should cry “Foul!”