polluters’ political pressure threatens florida’s water quality and economic health
Pollution from Florida’s sewage and wastewater plants and from agriculture is causing overloads of nutrient pollutants such as nitrogen and phosphorus. The pollution causes dangerous algae blooms in estuaries, lakes, streams and canals throughout the state. These blooms kill fish, close swimming and fishing areas, and harm Florida’s tourism economy. They can also cause serious illness in people and animals exposed to the water and its fumes.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) response has been “severely inadequate,” according to Clean Water Action. New DEP water quality standards that fall far short of the mark have nevertheless received preliminary approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The fast-track process for creating these water quality criteria for estuaries and coastal waters discounted sound science and common sense, and disregarded impacts on Florida’s economic future, Clean Water Action and others have charged. DEP’s rules were released on September 28, only five days before the only public workshop held on them, and EPA did not consider any of the concerns or questions raised during the too-brief two-week comment period before issuing its preliminary approval.
Clean Water Action and other environmental groups have raised serious concerns with other recent DEP actions: