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EPA announces hold on nutrient standards if Florida can come up with own criteria

The EPA announced today that it is now prepared to withdraw a portion of its proposed numeric nutrient criteria (a set of standards governing water pollution in inland waters) and delay the portion related to estuarine waters, to allow the state Department of Environmental Protection to develop its own criteria. # From a statement released by the EPA earlier today: # EPA recognizes that states have the primary role in establishing and implementing water quality standards for their waters. Therefore, EPA is prepared to withdraw the federal inland standards and delay the estuarine standards if FDEP adopts, and EPA approves, their own protective and scientifically sound numeric standards

Jul 31, 2020
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The EPA announced today that it is now prepared to withdraw a portion of its proposed numeric nutrient criteria (a set of standards governing water pollution in inland waters) and delay the portion related to estuarine waters, to allow the state Department of Environmental Protection to develop its own criteria. #
From a statement released by the EPA earlier today: #
EPA recognizes that states have the primary role in establishing and implementing water quality standards for their waters. Therefore, EPA is prepared to withdraw the federal inland standards and delay the estuarine standards if FDEP adopts, and EPA approves, their own protective and scientifically sound numeric standards. We are in the process of reviewing an initial proposal provided by FDEP. In the meantime, EPA intends to further delay implementation of the inland waters standards if FDEP continues to develop its own standards. #
The state has gone head-to-head with the federal EPA since the proposal of the criteria, which aim to help alleviate some of Florida’s algal and fish kill problems. Legislation and lawsuits against the criteria have been piling up for the past year, and critics of the criteria continue to remain outspoken. In a recent water forum held in Orlando, both state Rep. Trudi Williams, R-Fort Myers, and Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam spoke out against them. Sen. Marco Rubio has also been vocally opposed to the criteria. #
Nitrogen and phosphorus pollution comprise one of the largest causes of the water quality problems in the state, and create impediments to recreation, fishing and tourism. The EPA still maintains that 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,” but now says it supports the state’s efforts to restart its own rulemaking efforts. #
In April, Environmental Protection Secretary Herschel Vinyard penned a letterto EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, requesting that the agency withdraw the January 2009 determination requiring a set of numeric nutrient criteria. In its initial response to the letter, released today, EPA officials promise to initiate rulemaking to repeal its numeric nutrient criteria so long as the state department adopts a set of “protective nutrient criteria that are sufficient to address the concerns underlying [the initial] determination.” #
The letter makes clear that Vinyard’s petition to withdraw the determination requiring the standards has not yet been approved nor denied, but that the EPA will hold the petition “in abeyance” pending the results of the DEP’s rulemaking. #
View the EPA’s letter to Secretary Vinyard: #
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