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Environment

EPA and Florida DEP Sign Agreement to Stem Degradation of State Waterways

 
The state of Florida and the U.S. Department of Environmental Regulation have come to an agreement today on "numeric criteria" that is aimed at stemming the degradation of Florida's springs, rivers and waterways because of high levels of nutrients such as phosphorous and nitrogen.

 
The Florida Legislature has until December of 2014 to approve the agreement, with bills on the plan expected to be put before lawmakers this session.

Here's the text of the agreement, with links highlighted below:
 
 
 

  AGREEMENT IN PRINCIPLE 
FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND THE U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY March 15, 2013 The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have reached an agreement to protect Florida’s waterways from excess nitrogen and phosphorus pollution. These pollutants cause algal blooms and are among the largest contributors to water quality problems in Florida.  This agreement marks a significant step forward in protecting and restoring water quality across the state.   Measurable nutrient criteria will result in cleaner, safer water for all Floridians. Clean water is vital to Florida’s future. The health and growth of Florida’s economy--and the jobs that go with it -- depend on high quality and sustainable sources of water. Tourism – Florida’s economic lifeblood - employs more than 900,000 Floridians and generates nearly $60 billion annually for Florida’s economy. The EPA and FDEP have worked diligently and collaboratively to use the best science available, to carefully consider the extensive public comments submitted to EPA and FDEP, and to exercise flexibility consistent with the leadership responsibility of the State of Florida under the Clean Water Act. This agreement, once implemented and completed, coupled with EPA’s prior (November 30,2012) approval of FDEP’s newly adopted water quality standards, will result in Florida having numeric nutrient criteria for lakes, springs, estuaries and coastal waters, and the vast majority of flowing waters in the State.  The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have reached an agreement to protect Florida’s waterways from excess nitrogen and phosphorus pollution. These pollutants cause algal blooms and are among the largest contributors to water quality problems in Florida. This agreement marks a significant step forward in protecting and restoring water quality across the state. Measurable nutrient criteria will result in cleaner, safer water for all Floridians. Clean water is vital to Florida’s future. The health and growth of Florida’s economy --and the jobs that go with it -- depend on high quality and sustainable sources of water. Tourism – Florida’s economic lifeblood - employs more than 900,000 Floridians and generates nearly $60 billion annually for Florida’s economy. The EPA and FDEP have worked diligently and collaboratively to use the best science available, to carefully consider the extensive public comments submitted to EPA and FDEP, and to exercise flexibility consistent with the leadership responsibility of the State of Florida under the Clean Water Act. This agreement, once implemented and completed, coupled with EPA’s prior (November 30, 2012) approval of FDEP’s newly adopted water quality standards, will result in Florida having numeric nutrient criteria for lakes, springs, estuaries and coastal waters, and the vast majority of flowing waters in the State. This agreement is contingent upon passage of the language included in the attached version of draft legislation by the Florida Legislature and adoption by reference into Florida rule the document entitled “Implementation of Florida’s Numeric Nutrient Standards” as modified on March 11, 2013. The agreement is based on the premise that the attached version of the legislation and the Implementation Document are consistent with the Clean Water Act. The attached document “Path Forward” details the actions FDEP and EPA will take to satisfy the Determination and Consent Decree. We expect this agreement will provide a strong, effective framework for protecting and restoring waters that are vital to the economic and environmental health of Florida.

 
 
Here's the supplemental information:

NNC Agreement

Path Forward Document

Implementation Plan

Proposed Legislation

Florida Numeric Nutrient Criteria Coverage Map

Numeric Nutrient Criteria State-by-State