Florida DEP Disputes Industry-Written Costs of Water Standards

"Dozens of politicians, lobbyists and industry heads have written to both the EPA and Congress to argue against new water quality standards that would force many big utilities and agricultural companies to reduce the amount of waste they dump in Florida’s waterbodies. Their argument? The rules would be far too costly to follow for industries in a state already grappling with record high unemployment.

But according to internal Department of Environmental Protection emails obtained by The Florida Independent, the extravagant cost estimates regularly cited by Florida leaders were crafted by an industry-dominated organization, and were routinely disputed within the department.

Florida waterways have been suffering from ineffective pollution standards in recent months. In addition to drastic reductions in wetlands, many estuaries and lakes have been inundated with blue-green algal blooms that release toxins and use up large amounts of oxygen — leading to fish deaths, bird deaths and possibly even mammal deaths. Scientists recently labeled a rash of dolphin deaths in the St. Johns River a “marine mammal unusual mortality event,” one of only 50 such events to occur nationwide in the past 20 years."

Virginia Chamlee reports for the Florida Independent November 9, 2010.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010