Orange County is the latest Florida municipality to sue the EPA over its proposed implementation of a set of numeric nutrient criteria that will limit the amount of waste allowed to be dumped in state waterways. The county will join the Florida Water Environment Utility Council to fight the standards in one of several lawsuits already filed against the EPA.
Orange County Commissioner Ted Edwards explained the decision to sue to a local Fox affiliate:
Everyone that’s looked at it says it’s not one-size-fits all. It’s draconian. It’s way overboard. It’s too expensive, and it’s going to cripple our economy. … It’s going to be way too expensive. It’s going to be standards that will be difficult to meet.
“This is just Big Brother coming to Florida saying, ‘This is how you need to do things,’” said Edwards. “They should let us make these decisions instead of coming in with a huge sledgehammer saying, ‘We’re going to force you to do things that we think work without having the scientific backup to prove it.’”
The county estimates cost projections of implementing the standards to be upwards of $200 million, though, as reported by The Florida Independent, cost estimates regarding the standards are often disputed.
Environmentalists argue that the cost of doing nothing (i.e. not implementing the standards) will far outweigh the cost of implementation. Orange County has suffered the symptoms of nutrient pollution in the past. In 1999, a massive bird kill in Lake Apopka was attributed to nutrient runoff from fertilizers and pesticides.