Monday, February 6, 2012

Rep. Pafford asking hard-hitting questions about Numeric Nutrient Criteria bill sponsor

Check out the transcript of Representative Pafford asking questions of the numeric nutrient criteria ratification bill sponsor.

If you go to this link and pull up the archived session from 2/2/12 and go to minute mark 343:25, you can watch online.

More questions are below. It's pretty clear that the legislature has been bamboozled on the entire numeric nutrient criteria issue:

7051 Numeric Nutrient Criteria Questions:

(honest answers are in parentheses)

Question: One of the differences between the DEP and EPA rules is that the DEP's rule has numeric thresholds instead of numeric criteria. What actions are triggered under the DEP rule when a numeric threshold for nutrients is exceeded?


(The water body goes on a planning or study list)


Question: And while the water body is on the planning or study list is there any requirement to mitigate the impairment?


(No)


Question: Oh, so there are more steps… What is the next step for water bodies on the study list? Is there a requirement that water bodies on the study list be studied?


(No)


Question: Ever?


(No)


Question: So I an impaired water body could be on the study list for five years and no corrective action would be taken?


(Yes)


Question: 10 years?


(Yes)


Question: Well, what if the study is done; what actually has to be determined to trigger corrective action?


(The study would have to confirm biological condition failure of the waterbody and link that condition to the nutrient exceedance.)


Question: But isn't confirming biological condition failure essentially the same as the current narrative standard: “an imbalance of flora and fauna”? If not, what is the difference?


(There is no difference)


Question: So this whole rule gets us to exactly where we are already?


Let me try to understand this from another angle. One of the basic ideas of the EPA rule is to protect downstream waters by not allowing upstream nutrients to cause the downstream water body to exceed its limit. How can the DEP rule be protective of downstream waters if nothing triggers corrective action upstream?


(It can’t)


Question: South of Lake Okeechobee is there a proposal to reclassify the waters in the canals (most of the water in South Florida) as Class III limited because they exceed the numeric and threshold limits?


(Yes)


Question: And would Class III limited waters fall under the purview of this DEP rule?


(No)


Question: Then how will the downstream receiving water bodies – all of South Florida's estuarine systems – be protected?


(They won’t)

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