The Florida League of Cities and the Florida Stormwater Association are the latest groups to file suit over the EPA’s numeric nutrient criteria, a strict set of standards that will limit the amount of waste allowed to be dumped in state waterways.
The Florida League of Cities and the Florida Stormwater Association are the latest groups to file suit over the EPA’s numeric nutrient criteria, a strict set of standards that will limit the amount of waste allowed to be dumped in state waterways. #
In a complaint filed on Jan. 10 in Pensacola’s U.S. District courthouse, the groups seek a judgment from the federal court forcing the EPA to “abandon its unprecedented action against Florida and to take another look and conduct proceedings consistent with federal law.” #
In a press release, Rebecca O’Hara, director of legislative affairs for the Florida League of Cities, said that the EPA’s mandates “seem like they will do more to harm Florida’s local government taxpayers than provide real results.” #
In September 2010, Kurt Spitzer, executive director of the Florida Stormwater Association, was one of 36 state business leaders to sign a letter (.pdf) to Florida’s congressional delegation requesting an independent review of the EPA mandates. The letter referenced a study performed by Carollo Engineers on behalf of the Florida Water Environment Association Utility Council that projected capital costs to be upwards of $50.7 billion. A report by The Florida Independent revealed that the conclusions of that study were widely disputed among members of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. #
The suit, Spitzer said in a press release, is the next step in ensuring “the validity of the underlying science and methodologies used to prepare the rule.” According to Spitzer, stormwater and wastewater systems do not currently have the proper technology in place to meet the new requirements. #
The implementation of the EPA’s standards come in the wake of several symptoms of nutrient pollution, many of which went widely unreported. In the summer of 2010, the St. Johns River saw a rash of fish deaths that many believed to be a result of the river’s widespread algal blooms. In October, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officially labeled a spike in dolphin deaths in Florida an “Unusual Mortality Event,” a label generally reserved for mammal deaths that occur as the result of biotoxins from harmful algal blooms. #
Angelo's Aggregate Materials, the company behind a proposed landfill near environmentally sensitive land in Pasco County, says it is disappointed in the state's decision to issue an intent to deny their permit application, and looks forward to an objective review and ruling from an administrative law judge.
A report set to be released on Tuesday, March 6, will examine the cost estimates of a set of pollution standards to govern Florida's waterways. The so-called numeric nutrient criteria have been hotly-contested and estimates regarding the costs to implement them have varied widely.