The years-long battle over water quality in Florida has entered a new phase after a federal judge denied EPA’s request for an extension on placing specific numeric nutrient criteria on water pollution. EPA has agreed to immediately propose enforceable numeric limits for 100,000 miles of Florida waterways and 4,000 square miles of estuaries.
Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said of the ruling : “I’m pleased to see the EPA has recognized Florida’s right to protect Florida’s water. The EPA has acknowledged the sophistication of the scientific method used by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to derive numeric limits on nutrients in Florida’s water bodies by approving DEP’s Numeric Nutrient Criteria rule in its entirety.
“The EPA’s approval of DEP’s Numeric Nutrient Criteria benefits Floridians in that these rules are based on the best available science, will yield measurable environmental improvement, and cost less to implement than the rules EPA had at one time proposed.
“However, in approving Florida’s Criteria, the EPA also proposed additional rules on some of Florida’s estuaries and canals beyond what was proposed by the state. While I’m glad to see we’re making progress, we will, undoubtedly, continue to debate this issue. I will continue to work to ensure that Florida remains in control of Florida’s own destiny.”
EPA will host public availability sessions on Jan. 17, 2013 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., and on Jan. 18, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. to Noon at the Hyatt Regency Tampa. In addition, several webinars will be held between Jan. 22-25. The webinars will provide an opportunity for participants to submit written and oral comments on EPA’s proposed rule for some of Florida’s coastal and estuarine waters, and on EPA’s proposed rule on remanded portions of its final rule for Florida’s inland waters.
Visit EPA’s website for more information.