Saturday, November 5, 2011

FEDERAL AND STATE REGULATORS BUCKLE UNDER POLLUTER PRESSURE

***SIERRA CLUB NEWS RELEASE***
FEDERAL AND STATE REGULATORS BUCKLE UNDER POLLUTER PRESSURE
Public health and tourism industry at stake

Nov. 2, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:  Cris Costello, 941-951-6084

TALLAHASSEE – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s thumbs up today for Florida’s polluter-friendly water quality rules is a loss for families who deserve clean water.

Today, the EPA sent a letter to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection announcing its preliminary approval of draft state regulations on sewage, manure and fertilizer pollution.  This preliminary approval is being given by the EPA without that agency’s having reviewed the technical comments provided by Florida’s water quality advocates.

Rudy Scheffer,  Sierra Club Florida Steering Committee Chair, said “The Florida DEP proposed rule won’t prevent the outbreaks of toxic green slime that currently plague the state, killing fish, fouling drinking water, closing swimming areas, and causing illness in people and livestock.  It will leave us right where we are now:  waiting until it is too costly and too late to protect our families and our jobs from sick water.” 

“EPA caved to congressional pressure to put polluter interests above those of the Florida public.  Who will be the losers?  Local waterfront communities, homeowners with sinking property values, and everyone who fishes, swims, boats or drinks water in the state” said Frank Jackalone, Florida Staff Director of the Sierra Club.

The FDEP proposed rule takes all the pressure of the state’s biggest industrial polluters and instead places it on taxpayers and local governments; it also gives the state legislature complete control over the future of Florida’s water resources, including the ability to defund the implementation and enforcement of the rule.

The state’s Environmental Regulation Commission will hear a presentation on the DEP’s draft rule at a meeting in Tallahassee tomorrow. If the ERC signs off on the draft rule, it goes before the Florida Legislature in the 2012 session. The EPA will then have the opportunity to approve or deny the state’s final rule.

Earthjustice filed suit to compel the EPA to set limits on sewage, manure and fertilizer pollution in 2008 in the Northern District of Florida on behalf of the Florida Wildlife Federation, the Sierra Club, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida, and St. John’s Riverkeeper. 

For St. Petersburg Times Editorial, click here.

Slimed Florida waterways devastate waterfront property values.  Cape Coral is a prime example:
Cape Coral 2010

Cape Coral 2005