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Water pollution bill clears another committee, ready for House floor

A proposal environmentalists say would weaken the state’s water pollution rules was approved by a House panel Thursday.

The bill’s next stop is the House floor.

HB 7051 would allow Florida to override rigid federal water standards on the levels of nitrogen and phosphorous, known as nutrients. The proposed state standards would provide a more flexible “threshold,” which environmentalists say is unenforceable.

At issue is pollution from fertilizer, manure and sewage that make their way into the water, particularly during rainy season.

The result: Potentially toxic algae blooms that can contaminate drinking water and kill wildlife, sometimes causing epidemics such as red tide.

The bill’s survival in the House committees is the next step in a lawsuit-riddled saga that has dragged out more than three years and caused sometimes emotional clashes between the farm industries, utility companies, manufacturing companies that pollute, environmental groups and the state attorney general’s office.

Environmentalists contend that the battle won’t end in the Legislature.

The bill cannot be enacted until a lawsuit filed by environmental groups is resolved, and the national Environmental Protection Agency approves the new standards.

“We have to go with the courts and ask the courts to side with the original intent of the EPA and make sure the Clean Water Act is enforced,” said Frank Jackalone, of Sierra Club Florida.




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Tally Folly

Only in Florida can the Republican controlled Legislature ignore Federal Clean Water Act standards that enrich industry and agriculture at the expense of clean water for its own citizens and healthy environment.

There are currently Red Tides taking place throughout SW Florida on a regular basis.

One of the most delicate ecosystems in the world and one that all South Floridians depend on for water (The Everglades) is deeply imperiled by the levels of phosphorous and nitrogen that flow into this vital resource from ag and industry.

Republicans in Northern Florida screwing up our resources in South Florida funded at the expense our SoFLa donor tax base.

Peter Maier

This is getting ridicules and it is time to hold EPA accountable for never having implemented the Clean Water Act (CWA) as intended, due to a faulty applied water pollution test.
Because of this test, EPA ignored 60% of the pollution in sewage Congress intended to ‘treat’. Among this waste is nitrogenous (urine and protein) waste that not only exerts an oxygen demand (just like fecal waste) but also is a fertilizer for algae, thus contributes to red tides and dead zones. (www.petermaier.net)
The sad part is that EPA already in 1978 acknowledged (report EPA-600/2-78-051) that not only much better sewage treatment (including nitrogenous waste) was possible, but also would be less expensive to build and operated than conventional sewage treatment plants. In 1984 EPA also admitted the problems caused by this test, but never corrected the test and by administrative rule officially ignored 60% of the pollution in sewage, without informing Congress.
Admitting to having made a mistake seems to be too difficult, but sticking one’s head in the sand and hoping this will solve it selves, is unacceptable. Without correcting this test, it only will get worse and will cost the public buckets of money. It is time for somebody to tell their representatives in Congress to hold EPA accountable and force the EPA to correct this essential test or by simple ignoring EPA’s regulations and apply this test correctly. Such an action in 1984 saved a city here in Utah more than hundred million dollars.


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