Florida Petitions EPA on clean water standards

4/22/2011 Tallahassee; Governor Rick Scott today authorized the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to file a petition with the federal Environmental Protection Agency to rescind its January 14, 2009, determination that federally-imposed numeric nutrient criteria are necessary in the State of Florida. The petition also requests that EPA withdraw that determination before any further action is taken by their agency to propose, promulgate or implement numeric nutrient criteria in Florida.

“Florida is one of the few states that has a comprehensive program in place to address excess nutrients, and we continue to lead the nation in developing innovative tools to ensure the health of our state’s waterways,” said Governor Scott. “I look forward to working with the EPA to reach an agreement that will promote clean water standards in the way that makes the most sense for our state.”

On December 6, 2010 the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) promulgated Numeric Nutrient Criteria for lakes, rivers and streams in Florida.

On March 16, 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Water, released a memo titled, “Working in Partnership with States to Address Phosphorus and Nitrogen Pollution through Use of a Framework for State Nutrient Reductions”detailing eight elements for effective State programs to manage nitrogen and phosphorus pollution. The petition uses the eight elements in the memo to document the strength of Florida’s efforts to control nitrogen and phosphorus pollution.

If EPA rescinds their January 14, 2009 “determination” that numeric nutrient criteria are needed to implement the Clean Water Act in Florida, they would be expected to subsequently repeal their numeric nutrient criteria for lakes, rivers and streams in the State of Florida, and halt their nutrient rulemaking efforts for Florida. Florida would then be responsible for implementing its own nutrient reduction requirements.

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