The US Environmental Protection Agency is set to adopt new set of state and federal water pollution rules for the state of Florida. This resulted from the long court battle with environmental groups that wanted the federal version to be implemented in the state. This was according to the announcement made by agency officials Friday.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson released a brief notice in federal court in Tallahassee that stated she had taken all the necessary actions required by a consent ruling that the agency entered with the environmental groups. The groups accused the EPA of failing to follow its own rules by not requiring the state of Florida to adopt more strict regulations for nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen.
Last Friday evening, EPA issued a news release that stated it had approved the state rules for some of Florida’s waterways. Earthjustice lawyer David Guest said that he was pleased with the EPA’s action because the federal rule would apply to around 82,000 to 100,000 miles of waterways and the state rule would apply to the remaining 18,000. EPA regional water protection director Jim Giattina said that the area covered by the federal rule could be smaller.
Various environmental groups opposed Florida’s regulations because they don’t stop pollution that resulted to algae blooms which clog the state’s waterways. But Guest said he was happy with the outcome.
The groups sent proposals that set limits on nutrients that come from sources such as animal waste, fertilizer, and sewage wastes that feed the slimy algae blooms. The algae blooms can make people sick and kill fish in the area.
EPA officials said Florida’s new method of setting the limits in lakes, streams, springs, and estuaries are scientifically and technically sound and more effective than the current method. At present, the state has vague standards just like most states. Placing numerical limits on how much pollutants are allowed will strengthen enforcement of the regulations.