TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CN) – The Florida Wildlife Federation claims the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is letting Florida do an end-run around new rules to improve water quality. The group and its co-plaintiffs spearheaded a lawsuit that lead to a 2009 consent decree in which Florida agreed to scrap “narrative” criteria to measure water pollution in favor of more stringent, numeric criteria.
Wastewater discharges, from agriculture for example, can contain excess nutrients or warmth that promote environmentally harmful algae blooms and help spread invasive aquatic species.
The state’s final numeric criteria, released Nov. 14, include a broad amendment allowing any entity to generalize a change in standards beyond specific sites, the groups’ newest lawsuit says.
This is “in essence licensing a new water quality criteria for that entire watershed,” the groups say.
They seek declaratory and injunctive relief invalidating the standards.
Joining as plaintiffs are St. Johns Riverkeeper and the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida.
They are represented by Monica Reimer and David Guest with Earthjustice.