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EPA Adopts Water Pollution Rules for Florida

Environmental groups in Florida are praising a move by the federal government to impose tough water pollution standards in the state. But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency later tempered that excitement by also adopting rules that have long been criticized by the groups.

The EPA filed a statement in a Tallahassee federal court Friday saying it had taken all actions by a consent decree it entered into with environmental groups. But the EPA later issued a news release saying that it was actually adopting Florida’s own rules which the groups long argued was too weak to stop pollution. Earth Justice Florida Attorney, David Guest, says he still welcomes the news. “The bone of contention we had was that the state had tried to get away with doing only 15-percent of the waters, then we said you’ve got to do 100-percent. Today we won that issue”

Even Florida’s own Environmental agency claimed victory, though in a statement said they are disappointed at the EPA’s decision to issue new proposed federal rules.

Statement from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection:

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is pleased with today’s decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approving the State’s numeric nutrient criteria. The result will be cleaner water.

EPA’s decision confirms the efforts of hard working scientists at DEP. EPA’s decision is also supported by Judge Cantor who, after fully reviewing the science and criteria, upheld DEP’s rules entirely.

DEP and EPA are working diligently to complete the job statewide, returning the focus to restoration rather than litigation.

While EPA has approved the State’s criteria, we are disappointed about EPA’s decision to issue new proposed federal rules.  We will work with them to craft solutions that will allow the State to assume all nutrient criteria rulemaking in Florida.

Florida knows its waters best and we remain committed on the path to a state-lead solution, which is the best answer for Florida.