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Proposal Eases Limits on Pollution in Florida Waterways

Gov. Rick Scott recently told federal officials they should leave Florida alone and let it set its own water pollution standards. Scott and other state leaders have boasted that Florida's pollution-control laws have put it ahead of other states.

But the Legislature is about to change those laws.

A bill that has passed the House calls for relaxing the standards for how much pollution goes into the state's rivers, streams, lakes and bays. The changes called for by HB 239 will be, says Audubon of Florida's Charles Lee, "devastating," particularly in the Everglades.

"This is what all the polluters are fighting for, the complete overthrow of Florida's water-quality criteria," agreed Linda Young of the Clean Water Network. Struggling to come up with a term for how odious she considers it, she labeled the bill "the mack daddy of bottom of the barrel."

To the businesses that belong to Associated Industries of Florida, however, this is a common-sense move. The current water pollution standards are overly broad, said AIF lobbyist Keyna Cole.

Changing the standards "will really help determine which bodies of water need cleanup first," she said. ...

Author: Craig Pittman
Source: St. Petersburg Times, May 3, 2011