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EPA Statement on Florida’s Proposed Rule for Addressing Nutrient Pollution

Release Date: 11/02/2011
Contact Information: Davina Marraccini, (404) 562-8293, marraccini.davina@epa.gov

(Atlanta, Ga. – Nov. 2, 2011) – Today, EPA sent a letter to Hershel Vinyard, Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), outlining the Agency’s preliminary evaluation of FDEP’s proposed rule establishing numeric criteria for Florida waters. This preliminary evaluation indicates that the State’s proposed rule is consistent with the requirements of the Clean Water Act.

The letter also noted that EPA will be ready to withdraw its federal standards for those Florida waters covered by the FEDP’s rule, provided that the current version of FDEP’s rule is approved by the Florida Environmental Regulatory Comission (ERC) and ratified by the Florida State Legislature. The Agency cautioned that posture could change if the rule or related documents relied upon by the State change as the rule is considered and potentially amended by the ERC or state legislature.

“We commend Florida’s focus on reducing nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in its inland and estuarine waters,” said Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming, Regional Administrator. “The FDEP’s proposed rule reflects significant progress in protecting the state’s critical aquatic resources and we are hopeful that it will be fully enacted without modification. We look forward to seeing this rule through a process that in the end puts in place pollution-cutting standards that are based on the requirements of the Clean Water Act and the best science.”

Nitrogen and phosphorus pollution is one of the largest causes of the water quality problems in Florida. Limiting nutrient pollution across the state will help protect the health of Floridians and also preserve Florida’s greatest asset—clean water– and the prosperity and jobs that go with it. Florida’s tourism industry, the state’s number one industry, employs nearly one million Floridians and pumps billions into the state’s economy each year. Many of these tourists come to Florida to fish, boat and jet ski and, in an average year, tourists spend more than $60 billion in the state - generating thousands upon thousands of jobs as well over $3 billion in taxes.

To view the EPA letter sent to FDEP Secretary Vinyard, visit: http://www.epa.gov/region4/water/wqs/documents/nancy-stoner-letter-to-fdep-nnc-rule.pdf