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Thursday, 11 April 2013 21:08

PROTEST BAD WATER BILLS IN FLORIDA LEGISLATURE

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SCPA ENVIRO ACTION ALERT 10am Mon. Apr. 15, 2013

FLORIDA ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION ALERT!

PROTEST BAD WATER BILLS IN FLORIDA LEGISLATURE

ISSUE: Florida's waters are becoming increasingly polluted by nutrients -- nitrogen and phosphorous -- which feed algae outbreaks, and which have become increasingly severe. Nitrogen and phosphorous, contained in sewage, farm manure and fertilizer, are largely responsible, yet controllable. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has suggested certain standard for nutrients but has taken no action to implement. Florida Dept. of Environmental Protections (DEP) refused to implement EPA standards, and has acted only to weaken, not strengthen standards. Failure of the State of Florida to stem the flow of nutrients has led some communities to enact ordinances to restrict fertilizer nutrients flowing into the waterways, because such restrictions are easily achieved, doable, and have been shown to be effective. Now, in April 2013, Florida legislators including Rep. Steve Crisafulli (R. Rockledge) are proposing legislation that would prevent local governments from taking action on their own, and/or establish weak standards that even exempt most of Florida's waters from appropriate nutrient restrictions!

TIME FOR CITIZEN ACTION?
We think so!

BREVARD COUNTY:
10am Monday, April 15
At office of Rep. Steve Crisafulli, 2460 North Courtenay Pkwy, Suite 108, Merritt Island FL 32953

HOW TO GET THERE:
- Location is off east side of N. Courtenay Pkwy a few hundred yards south of SR 528 Beeline/Beachline/Bennett Cswy).
- from SR 528 Beeline/Beachline/Bennett Causeway go south on N. Courtenay a few hundred yards only.
- from SR 520 E. Merritt Island Causeway go north on N. Courtenay a couple of miles, if you get to SR 528 you've gone a few hundred yards too far.

PROTEST BAD BILLS
FL House Bill 7115 and Senate Bill 7034 would EXCLUDE 3/4 of all Florida waters from adequate clean water standards!

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TURTLE COAST SIERRA CLUB:

ATTN: PRO-ENVIRONMENTALISTS IN BREVARD: The Sierra Club is joining forces with other organizations, locally and around the state, to pressure the Florida legislature to stop giving polluters a free pass, especially when it comes to the nutrient (Nitrogen and Phosphorus) pollution that is fueling the green slime and brown and red tides that are plaguing the Indian River Lagoon and other water bodies in Brevard and around the state!

RALLY! Please join us for a local rally in front of the office of State Rep Steve Crisafulli, 2460 N Courtenay Pkwy, Ste 108, Merritt Island, 32953, where concerned citizens, and waterfront businesses can join environmental advocates to bring attention to the victims of Florida's water quality crisis--which now include bottlenose dolphins, too!  We will voice our opposition to HB 7115 and SB 7034, the bills now sprinting toward passage in the state legislature which would exclude 3/4ths of all Florida waters, and the people who live along them, from protection against toxic algae outbreaks.  We will end the event by delivering letters and personal messages to the representative or his aides.

BRING SIGNS! We will have slime posters, and signs, but, if you can, please bring your own signs and/or photos of slime in our waterways!

SIMULTANEOUS events will also be taking place in Orlando, Sarasota, St Petersburg, Jacksonville, Ft Myers, Palm City, Gainesville, Ft. Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach--all communities in Florida at risk from toxic algae fueled by nutrient pollution!   Please join us and be part of this state-wide event!

CONTACT Linda Behret at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to RSVP or for more information!

Linda Behret, President
Turtle Coast Sierra Club

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PARTNERSHIP FOR SUSTAINABLE FUTURE:

Let's join Sierra Club and Partnership at this rally. Our strength is in our unity.

Maureen Rupe, President
Partnership for Sustainable Future

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CS/HB 7115 - CS/SB 7034 – NUMERIC NUTRIENT CRITERIA

Compiled by Florida Sierra Club

Numeric Nutrient Criteria for Florida must protect the public interest.

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CRITERIA FOR PUBLIC INTEREST

• Human health
• Ecosystem health
• Sustainability of established communities
• Economic interests

All of the criteria for public interest depend on good water quality.  Ensuring sufficient protection of the public’s interests will require effective pollution limits.  The FDEP’s rules as written now cannot protect the public interest from slimy algae outbreaks. 

If the FDEP rules were traffic law, no one would ever get a speeding ticket. The EPA standards are like an easy-to-read speed limit sign.  Everyone knows what the limit really is and what is safe or unsafe.

The FDEP Rule calls for a labyrinth of studies instead of clear pollution limits; under the rules no immediate action is taken to reduce nutrient pollution discharges.  Sewage, manure and fertilizer pollution need to have numeric limits to prevent green slime and toxic algae outbreaks, not studies after the fact.

The FDEP rules won’t apply to the vast majority of Florida’s waters.  Most of our waterfront businesses, waterfront property, and beloved water resources will be unprotected from toxic algae.

More protective standards, such as what EPA is proposing, are necessary to protect the public interest. 

CS/HB 7115 - CS/SB 7034 need to be amended to ensure that the state implements nutrient pollution standards that will protect the public interest.

Replacing the FDEP standards with the EPA proposal would promote the prevention of toxic algae outbreaks rather than the restoration of nutrient pollution impaired water resources.

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BACKGROUND ON 'NUMERIC NUTRIENT LIMITS'

Algae outbreaks are caused (and worsened) by excess nitrogen and phosphorous – called “nutrients.” These pollutants come from sewage, manure and fertilizer in our water.

While some nutrients are good - too much nutrient input into waterways can trigger harmful algae outbreaks and fish kills. Just as fertilizer helps grow plants in our yard, when it washes into waterways, it helps grow algae.

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PREVENTION IS THE ONLY REAL ANSWER

With most pollutants, if you turn off the source of the pollutant, water quality begins to improve. With nutrients that is not the case – a cure is difficult and takes a very long time. Nutrients persist in under water sediments and continue to feed algae long after discharges cease. Hence, you have to do prevention. 

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COST OF PREVENTION VS. COST OF CLEAN UP

Protective standards prevent impairment. Restorative standards don’t come into play until the slime takes over.

Public health is not protected when we wait for impairment; restoration always costs far more than prevention as evidenced in Everglades restoration. Also, taxpayers pay for clean up while polluters pay for prevention. 

The FDEP rule allows Florida waters to become dangerously polluted before requiring any cleanup and therefore will be a heavy burden to Florida taxpayers.

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HEALTH EFFECTS

-  The slimy algae outbreaks on our waters are a public health threat so bad the state Department of Health had to print up a pamphlet for the public that says “Have you been slimed?”
-Some harmful algae produce toxins that can cause serious health problems for humans or wildlife. For humans, it can cause skin rashes and respiratory problems. For wildlife it can cause sickness and death.
- This is a problem in all parts of the state, and our drinking water supplies are becoming more polluted.
- Health authorities have had to close popular swimming areas, ban fishing and shellfishing, and in the prime of tourist season our shores have been littered with dead fish, birds, and manatees.
- A drinking water plant serving over 30,000 Southwest Florida residents has been repeatedly shut down due to toxic algae outbreaks.
- Residents and tourists are suffering documented rashes, respiratory and intestinal distress, and serious health problems all over the state.
Economic Impacts:
- All the people – hoteliers, car rental companies, fishing guides, equipment rental companies, restaurants, etc. – who depend on the tourism economy for their income are affected by this pollution. 
-Florida is receiving negative press nationally due to our water pollution. Visitors are quoted on TV, radio, magazines, and newspapers disgusted by polluted beaches and waterways.
- The Florida Today newspaper reported that an algae outbreak in the Indian River Lagoon cost the region's economy up to $10,000 for every acre of seagrass it smothered (31,000 acres in the last two years). During a seven-month outbreak in 2011, the area's sport and commercial fishing industry lost up to $316 million.
- The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), based at Tufts University, found that algae outbreaks caused by water pollution cost Floridians between $1.3 billion and $10.5 billion each year.

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PUBLIC SUPPORT

- The public wants the water cleaned up.  In 2012 and so far this year, citizen environmental groups have tracked 58,000 citizens comments sent to the EPA and the White House, urging strong, enforceable limits on sewage, manure and fertilizer pollution.

The UF/IFAS Department of Agricultural Education and Communication recently conducted and released a survey of Floridians regarding their views on the current state of Florida’s waters, available at http://www.piecenter.com/water/.  Ninety-three percent of survey respondents said clean drinking water was highly or extremely important, followed by clean beaches at 90.5 percent and clean oceans at 89.3 percent. The study also showed that more people believe that water quality is getting worse. 

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THANKS TO:
Florida Sierra Club http://florida.sierraclub.org/
Linda Behret, President, Turtle Coast Sierra Club (Brevard County) http://florida.sierraclub.org/turtlecoast/
Maureen Rupe, President, Partnership for a Sustainable Future (Brevard County)

Last modified on Friday, 12 April 2013 06:08

1 comment

  • Comment Link Clyde White Saturday, 20 April 2013 12:05 posted by Clyde White

    Maybe Florida can get some of the $455 million in unspent EPA money that California has for cleaner water. Then again they may need it for their $400 billion in unfunded debt. Since Florida is quite obviously well better managed than Callifornia, We could do a better job with the money. QUESTION: Why do blue states bleed so much red ink? Why do Red states run in the black? (Exception Kentucky) Just askin'.

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