The Florida Water Coalition today sent letters to the state’s congressional delegation, urging them to support water pollution limits for Florida, which have been opposed by every major industrial and agricultural group in Florida. According to the letter, water pollution in Florida is posing “a serious health threat” to humans and wildlife alike — and leading to declines in tourism and waterfront real estate.
The letter, which was sent via email, includes several photos of a toxic algal bloom on Southwest Florida’s Caloosahatchee River. A drinking water plant on the river at Olga, which normally serves around 30,000 people, is currently shut down due to the contamination, which, like many algal blooms plaguing Florida waterways, is a result of fertilizer, manure and sewage pollution.
A set of standards to govern water pollution and toxic algal blooms in Florida seem like a no-brainer, but they have been delayed and contested on numerous occasions. Business and industry leaders argue that the cost of compliance could be in the billions, while environmentalists continue to argue that the cost of doing nothing could be high, as well. (For more on our coverage of Florida’s heavily debated numeric nutrient criteria, click here.)
According to the Water Coalition’s letter, waterfront property values in the St. Lucie area “suffered a permanent decline of $500 million” as a direct result of a toxic algae outbreak.
“As an elected representative and public servant, it is your duty to protect Floridians’ jobs and public health. It would be a clear dereliction of that duty to allow this public health threat to continue,” writes the Coalition.
The letter is signed by Manley Fuller, president of the Florida Wildlife Federation; Becky Ayech, president of the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida; and David Guest, an attorney with Earthjustice.
Read the full letter: