Florida’s Environmental Regulation Commission has approved increasing the number of allowable toxins in rivers and streams. This proposal allows the number of chemicals in drinking water to increase from 54 to 92. But Jim Messer - the lone Republican in the race for Florida House District Nine - has some reservations on the vote.
Messer expressed his concerns Wednesday on WFSU's Perspectives Program. The Republican attorney from Tallahassee says he's troubled by the way the vote was handled.
“It’s troubling in two respects. This vote was held while two seats on the commission were vacant. It’s also troubling anytime you see an agency permitting an increase in the levels of benzene, and arsenic and PCBs in our water," he said.
PCB stands for polychlorinated biphenyl, which are toxic chemicals causing skin diseases and suspected to cause birth defects and cancer. Messer and the three Democratic candidates all have concerns about the recent vote. But, Messer supports the proposal’s new standards on 39 chemicals not currently regulated by the state and the revisions to 43 others.
These regulations – which have not been revised since 1992 – now need approval by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.