LeMieux attempts to nix EPA water quality standards

Sen. George LeMieux, R-Fla. (Pic via Senate)

Add Sen. George LeMieux to the pile of politicians trying to delay EPA water quality nutrient standards.

LeMieux was one of 21 congressmen to sign an Aug. 2 letter to the EPA that called on the agency to delay its water quality rules until “a peer review of the science and an independent economic analysis is conducted.” Several weeks later, the EPA responded, arguing that no further review is needed and that the standards will go ahead as planned.

Yesterday, the Republican senator took it a step further, introducing an amendment to a spending bill that would have blocked the EPA from spending any money to implement a stricter set of rules.

“This rule will hurt Florida’s families,” said LeMieux in a Wednesday press release. ”It will cost our state billions of dollars, thousands of jobs, and drive up water bills. This is lawsuit-driven regulation without a sound scientific basis and the result will be unnecessarily catastrophic for Florida. The EPA’s actions threaten Florida’s economy and is unlikely to provide little, if any biological benefit.”

LeMieux’s bid to block tougher standards failed on Wednesday night, with Democratic members of Congress arguing that the number of amendments to the spending bill needs to be limited.

Yesterday, the EPA announced a short extension for the nutrient criteria that will govern Florida’s inland waterways, including streams and lakes. The standards were originally set to be decided on by Oct. 15; the 30-day extension changes the final signature date to Nov. 14. From an EPA press release:

To date, EPA has received over 22,000 comments as a result of two public comment periods and 13 public hearing sessions in the State of Florida. These comments represent essential input from many Floridians and a valuable range of information from numerous technical and scientific experts in the State. EPA will use this additional time to review and confirm that all comments have been fully considered.

The portion that will affect inland estuaries, like the St. Johns River, is currently slated to be complete by August 2012.

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