An algal bloom in the Caloosahatchee River in 2005 (Pic by Florida Water Coalition)

An article released yesterday in a special agri-business edition of Highlands Today dubs a set of federally mandated water pollution standards “way too extreme for Florida.” The article is the latest in a long series of critiques of the EPA’s decision to implement its “numeric nutrient criteria,” rules that would help thwart algal blooms and fish kills in Florida waterways.

Via Highlands Today:

Every reasonable person is willing to sacrifice to protect the water quality in our Florida rivers and lakes. It all falls apart, though, when extreme measures threaten to break the bank with too many people in our state, and that’s exactly what’s going on with the Environmental Protection Agency’s idea on “numeric nutrient criteria” regulations being implemented in March.

Numeric nutrient criteria is a fancy way of saying that the EPA has come up with convoluted, complicated and unfair demands on water quality standards. It’s supposedly to protect against algae blooms and red tides.

The article also contends that attempts to thwart algal blooms with the EPA rules would be akin to “killing a fly with a bazooka,” and the regulations would “most likely put some people out of business.”

Though the EPA has contended in the past that the agricultural industry won’t be affected by the rules, industry interests remain strongly opposed.

Recently, the Department of Agriculture’s Rich Budell outlined his department’s objections to the clean water rules, arguing that any assertions that ag. wouldn’t be affected are “naive at best.” The Highlands Today piece takes those assertions a step further — arguing that the criteria will lead to a spike in the cost of food: “Consumers are much more likely to see food prices climb as agricultural operators and producers are forced to shell out huge amounts of money to abide by these regulations.”

Currently, the state Department of Environmental Protection is drawing up its own set of rules which, if they are approved, will be implemented in place of the EPA’s criteria.

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