Tuesday, September 27, 2011

FDEP spent the summer drafting a state rule that would replace the EPA numeric nutrient criteria – act now to stop them

Fanning Springs 2011
This FDEP draft rule has been embraced by many opponents of the EPA Rule for the obvious reasons:  1. It would allow the continued discharge of sewage, animal manure and fertilizer pollution into most of the state’s water resources; 2. It would keep the burden of prevention and clean-up costs on the taxpayer and off industry polluters; and 3. It would give the state legislature control of the nutrient pollution issue.

However, FDEP has made it clear throughout the drafting process that the decision to go forward with rule-making depends on having public support to do so.

We have the opportunity for the next 3 weeks to bombard FDEP with comments against the draft rule and prove that Floridians do not want less protection for our water bodies but rather, we want more protection. 

We can send a clear message to FDEP if we mobilize ourselves, our members and our allies.

Comments can be provided directly on the webpage (2000 character limit) or posted as attachments to the webpage.  The link to the public comments webpage is here

Comments opposing the FDEP draft rule should be submitted by October 18.  The “deadline” for technical comments on the draft is Wednesday, September 28.

You can view the comments submitted to FDEP on their proposed rule by way of the Department’s nutrient criteria webpage here

Read more for a Policy Alert that includes some easy talking points.
Policy Alert

Nutrient pollution is one of the most widespread causes of Florida’s declining water quality; leading to harmful algae outbreaks and fish kills that foul our bays and beaches, lowers real estate values and impacts our tourism-based economy. The toxins produced by nutrient-fueled harmful algal blooms can also make our waterways unsafe for livestock and pets and cause various human health problems.

To more effectively control nutrient pollution, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asked Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) over a decade ago to develop numeric nutrient criteria (NNC) –proactive pollution limits that require pollutant reductions before water quality becomes seriously degraded. After 11 years of the FDEP not doing so, the EPA proposed effective nutrient criteria for Florida.

Now, FDEP is proposing its own rule that weakens Florida’s already ineffective nutrient pollution standards.  The FDEP draft rule lacks true numeric nutrient criteria for all fresh and marine waters, does not protect downstream waterbodies, and does not require nutrient pollution reductions in waters that exceed nutrient pollution thresholds.

If the FDEP draft rule is allowed to displace the EPA Rule, the result will be higher nutrient pollution levels that are unsafe for human and environmental health.

Please voice your support for clean water and oppose this damaging regulatory change.  This decision will determine the fate of our sensitive Florida waters, so please act today - all comments should be submitted by October 18.

ACT NOW

Comments should be submitted by October 18.

Sample talking points:

  • I support clean water and better nutrient pollution controls, including numeric nutrient criteria such as EPA has proposed.
  • We need numeric nutrient criteria for all Florida’s fresh and estuarine waters so they are safe for swimming and fishing.
  • To protect Florida’s lakes, bays and beaches, we also need numeric limits to protect all downstream waters.
  • We also need to ensure that any waterway exceeding numeric criteria or downstream protective values receive pollution reduction requirements to prevent further degradation. 
  • It is unacceptable to wait until a waterway becomes unhealthy or covered with green slime before we require actions to reduce nutrient pollution into it.
  • I oppose the FDEP draft rule.
  • I urge FDEP to implement EPA’s numeric nutrient criteria or to rewrite its current draft rules to create similarly protective criteria for all Florida’s fresh and marine waterbodies.

Comments can be submitted online here.

And/or hardcopies sent to:

Mr. Eric Shaw
Environmental Manager
Standards & Assessments Section
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
2600 Blair Stone Road, MS 6511
Tallahassee, FL 32399-2400