- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
The Florida League of Cities Inc. (FLC) and Florida Stormwater Association Inc. (FSA) have filed a federal lawsuit against the EPA over the agency's plans to institute numeric nutrient criteria regulations for Florida's waters. The lawsuit is asking the federal court to force the EPA to abandon plans to control releases on phosphorous and nitrogen into the Everglades watershed. Similar rules are being implemented in the Chesapeake Bay watershed as well.
[read the court documents (pdf)]
The lawsuit challenges the EPA's science used to justify the regulations, and also that the demands will be impossible for stormwater and wastewater systems to reach. The complaint was made based on information taken from an independent study prepared by Texas-based environmental consulting firm Cardno ENTRIX for the Florida Water Quality Coalition in November of 2010. The firm's report stated that costs are projected to increase for city and county wastewater and stormwater treatment systems by at least $1 billion and up to $3 billion per year, compared to the EPA's projected costs of between $135 and $206 million.
The study also concludes that there would be an environmental justice cost associated with the NNC, since on average, counties with higher poverty levels will have a higher economic burden. The study goes on to establish that many industries that have suffered economic declines over the past five years could be hurt by the NNC and the diversion of consumer and business spending to costs of complying with the regulations.
The complaint was filed Jan. 10, 2011 in the Pensacola Division of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida. Other lawsuits challenging the rules have been filed in both the Pensacola and Tallahassee divisions of the Northern District, and more complaints are expected to be filed over the next few weeks.
"We agree that all persons and all Florida governments have a responsibility for improving water quality in Florida. But we need to be very certain of the validity of the underlying science and methodologies used to prepare the rule before we are asked to spend billions of taxpayer dollars," said Kurt Spitzer, Executive Director of the Florida Stormwater Association. "Rules of this importance must be based on valid scientific methodologies, especially since stormwater and wastewater systems do not have the technology to meet the new requirements at the present time."
SOURCE: Press releases from Florida Stormwater Assoc. and Cardno ENTRIX