Environmental Protection

Florida Groups Want to Cut Funding for Numeric Nutrient Criteria Rule

The groups say they are concerned about the cost of the regulation, noting that state and independent studies have estimated that the rule will cost billions of dollars generally and more than 14,000 jobs in the agricultural community.

Fifty-seven organizations representing Florida agriculture, water utility, business, local government, and labor interests sent a letter on March 7 to Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio asking the lawmakers to defund EPA's numeric nutrient criteria rule.

The letter states: "As the senators from Florida, you have the opportunity to protect Florida’s employers, families, and economy from this costly, unprecedented NNC rule by supporting an amendment to H.R. 1 similar to the one sponsored by Representative Tom Rooney and passed by the United States House of Representatives. We ask that you introduce and support an amendment in the Senate to the Continuing Resolution or a similar spending bill that would defund the EPA NNC final rule. "

The groups say they are concerned about the cost of the regulation, noting that state and independent studies have estimated that the rule will cost billions of dollars generally and more than 14,000 jobs in the agricultural community.

A recent Mason-Dixon poll shows 68 percent of Floridians oppose the mandates, the letter states.

Before publishing its final rule in the Federal Register in December 2010, EPA said its staff worked with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and expert scientific and technical staff on numerous occasions as part of an ongoing collaborative process. The federal agency considered and evaluated the technical approaches and scientific analysis that the state agency presented as part of its July 2009 draft numeric criteria, as well as its numerous comments on different aspects of this rule. EPA also weighed more than 22,000 comments from public hearings and stakeholder feedback.

In the end, the agency developed criteria for four specific regions within the state for total nitrogen and total phosphorus, ranging from 1.87 to 0.67 mg/L TN and 0.49 to 0.06 mg/L TP.

Florida lawmakers have asked for a rulemaking delay so the rule's impacts and science could be reviewed but the agency denied the request.

Signatories to the letter (who also serve as the source for this news) include:

American Council of Engineering Companies
Associated Industries of Florida
CF Industries Holdings, Inc.
Destin Water Users, Inc.
Emerald Coast Utilities Authority
Farm Credit Bureau
Florida Association of Counties
Florida Association of Special Districts
Florida Cattlemen's Association
Florida Electric Cooperatives Association
Florida Fertilizer & Agrichemical Association
Florida Forestry Association
Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association
Florida Gulf Coast Building & Construction Trades Council
Florida Pest Management Association
Florida Poultry Federation
Florida Pulp & Paper Association
Florida Stormwater Association
Florida Water Environment Association Utility Council
International Union – UFCW Local 1625
Manufacturers Association of Florida
Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of FL
The Fertilizer Institute
United Food & Commercial Workers
U.S. Sugar Corporation

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