Florida DEP Asks Feds to Back Off on Numeric Nutrient Criteria
On April 22nd Governor Rick Scott authorized the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to petition the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to rescind its January 2009 determination that the State of Florida must employ numeric nutrient criteria in determining compliance with the Clean Water Act for Florida's inland surface waters.
In a letter accompanying its petition, Florida DEP cites a recent memo from EPA titled "Working in Partnership with States to Address Phosphorus and Nitrogen Pollution through Use of a Framework for State Nutrient Reductions". It details eight elements for effective State programs to manage nitrogen and phosphorus pollution. The 32-page petition uses the eight elements in the memo to document the strength of Florida's efforts to control nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, citing examples of Florida's activities to improve water quality.
EPA issued the January 2009 finding calling for numeric nutrient criteria to be used in determining water quality, in place of so-called "narrative standards", after a lawsuit was filed by EarthJustice and the Florida Wildlife Federating alleging that Florida was not adequately enforcing the provisions of the Clean Water Act.