CEO Sounding Board - Water Quality
Water Quality: Florida and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this year agreed to end dual rule making over the proper levels of nitrogen and phosphorus in Florida waterways and let Florida take the lead in regulating nutrients. Excess nutrients cause algal blooms and other water quality problems. What does the settlement mean for Florida?
“The federal rule is very focused on one-size-fits-all in terms of a standard.
We’ve worked all along with the EPA and the state to achieve a rule that was protective of the environment and at the same time continue our operations in a cost-effective manner. The state rule will still be costly to implement but not as costly as the federal rule would have been.”
“There will be hundreds of millions of dollars that will have to be funneled to our municipal stormwater utility systems to ensure our water meets state water quality. Originally, it was estimated the federal program would have cost billions of dollars. That duplicative regulation would have been a regulatory nightmare. The impact for Florida is certainty moving forward for water quality standards. Florida has some of the most stringent water quality standards in the nation.”
“You look at all the dead manatees. It’s a growing crisis in the state crying out for an answer, and this isn’t it. We will not have any effective controls on sewage, manure and fertilizer contamination in Florida waters. When you have the fox association writing the rules for the chicken house, you wouldn’t be surprised the chickens are at risk. Yeah, we’re disappointed. If you look at the history of the Clean Water Act, all things are driven by lawsuits against the EPA when they take the easy way out. Our role is to make the Clean Water Act work, and the way that happens is in court.”