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Scientific panel examines competing cost-claims for cleaning polluted waters

By Lynn Hatter


Orlando, Fl – An independent panel of scientists is meeting in Orlando this week to examine competing claims about the cost of new federal water pollution standards for Florida. The state would be the first in the nation to have federally-imposed pollution rules. Lynn Hatter reports on the debate over their economic impact.

The US Environmental Protection Agency's rules would limit how much nitrogen
and phosphorus can be in the state's waterways. Florida says the restrictions are too expensive. But at Monday's hearing in Orlando, Attorney David Guest with the environmental group Earth Justice said the state is just stalling.

"It wasn't too expensive when the state was proposing to adopt these identical nearly identical standards in 2009. The state didn't think it was too expensive then. We had a change of administration and now they're too expensive. That's what happened."

The EPA estimates its new rules would require the state to spend up to 200-million dollars a year to clean up its waterways ... but several business groups say the actual amount could be as high as three-billion dollars a year. The National Academy of Sciences is conducting an independent review of all the different cost-studies. They'll release their findings in February of next year.