« Radio ads by Obama backers call Mitt Romney 'devastating' for Florida Hispanics | Main | A peek inside Mitt Romney's $42.5 million tax filings »

House takes step toward resolving water-pollution feud

A years-long lawsuit-fueled dispute over the health standards for Florida waters moved toward resolution Tuesday after lawmakers approved a proposal put forth by the state environmental agency.

A House committee unanimously accepted a measure that would allow the state to apply individual health standards to each body of water.

The changes, which would allow Florida to override federal water protection rules, cannot take effect until the Environmental Protection Agency approves them.

At issue is fertilizer runoff from farms and lawns combined with waste from old, faulty septic tanks. Those and other contaminants can lead to water with high levels of nitrogen and phosphorous, known as nutrients.

Waters with too many nutrients can be permanently polluted and bloom enough algae to damage entire ecosystems.

Experts have worked for decades trying to restore damage to the Everglades caused by high nutrient levels. The Miami area, which traditionally cleans its wastewater and sends it to tide, also struggles to meet environmental standards.

Ambitious wastewater management in Tampa, on the other hand, has partially reversed damage to Tampa Bay.

“We can ask farms to implement best-management practices, but the real challenge today is urban runoff,” Rep. Matthew Caldwell, R-Lehigh Acres, said before the meeting. “How do you regulate every single person’s yard?”

Although lawmakers' approval paves the way for the federal government to work with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, implementation must be postponed until an administrative court rules in March on a lawsuit against the federal government led by the Sierra Club and other environmental groups.

Another 2010 lawsuit filed by Attorney General Pam Bondi on behalf of the state is also in limbo.

That suit arose after the EPA settled with environmental groups in 2009, and asked Florida to maintain  uniform nutrient levels across waters. It contends that the EPA asks the state to accomplish too much too soon, to the possible peril of Florida businesses, local governments and utility companies that manage waste.

The debate before the Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee rang of an issue that has dragged out too long.

Environmental groups testified that the proposed rules offer loopholes and don't do enough to protect downstream waters.

“Millions of people in the state rely on our water for drinking, and there are not enough protections in this rule to protect our drinking water,” said Stephanie Kunckle of Clean Water Action.

Yet, the debate among lawmakers—who seemed determined to accept the proposal and move on—was short.

 

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Peter Maier

City and farmers cause water pollution by what EPA calls nutrients, because they use fertilizer on their lawns and fields and some may runoff when rains. But the reason farmers use fertilizer is to grow food, which eventually will be eaten by humans in cities, where it will end up in sewage as nitrogenous (urine and protein) waste.

Congress passed the Clean Water Act (CWA) with the goal of eliminating all water pollution by 1985 or as Senator Muskie stated on the Senate floor in 1972: “This law simple means that we can not use our rivers to treat our sewage any longer”.

Unfortunately, when EPA implemented the CWA by setting sewage treatment standards for the NPDES (National Pollution Discharge Elimination System) permits, it used an essential test incorrect and, as one of its many negative consequences, ignored 60% of the pollution, caused by the oxygen exerting waste in sewage, Congress clearly intended to treat by passing the CWA. EPA also, because of this faulty applied test, ignored all the pollution caused by nitrogenous (urine and protein) waste in sewage, while this waste besides exerting an oxygen demand (like fecal waste) also is a fertilizer for algae and contributes to the formation of dead zones and red tides, the same type of pollution EPA now claims caused by farmers. (www.petermaier.net)

When regulations clearly are not only implementing, even violating the intent of an Act, one has to wonder, why nobody is holding EPA accountable, meanwhile participating in other new programs clearly dealing with the fact that EPA never implemented the CWA.

Paul Felix Schott

Hydraulic Fracturing a Danger to us All.

Only the wicked in mind Leaders in this Nation and around the world would let anyone Pipe Pollution into the ground to get gas in return from the Ground. Most all scientist have know this for many years that this will end safe drinking water for all that are in the area of where they are fracturing, in which Millions of Gallons of Dangerous Poison Chemically Treated Water are forced underground to break up rock and free gas. We need regulations from GODLY People that will stop 10,000+ wells a year drilled using hydraulic fracturing to free and make the Dangerous Poison Chemicals underground into gas. The primarily affect will be unsafe drinking water and many will become sick. THE HEALTH OF MANY WILL DETERIORATE because of A Few Wicked Greedy Leaders. Those who have made these decisions do not know Jesus Christ. Soon He will say i know you not. They belong in jail soon it will be hell for them. What sick in mind would let or want anyone to put Dangerous Poison Chemicals underground or into the ground anywhere.

The wicked are trying to sell and tell all if it is not near your home or land it is safe. This is the biggest ling of horse manure. Do they think most of We The People are that dumb or that most Americans lack any intelligence at all. What ever is put on or in the ground makes it way to our underground Aquifers, Rivers, Lakes and the Oceans. Every Scientist on Earth knows this and most all that have made it to eighth grade in school.

So why would any Leader with a good healthy mind ever say or want this?

Vote any wicked that has anything to do with this out of office they work for WE THE PEOPLE.

United We Stand In GOD We Trust

The Lord's Little Helper
Paul Felix Schott

The comments to this entry are closed.