EPA’s Regulatory Overreach on Water Quality: First, Hit Florida

By February 17, 2011Regulations

Sixty-seven business, agriculture and manufacturing associations this week sent a letter to Capital Hill raising warning flags about EPA’s federal numeric nutrient criteria rule. The EPA’s regulatory overreach in Florida could become template for how the agency will structure and impose similar nutrient requirements nationwide.

The National Association of Manufacturers joined the letter. Excerpt:

In November 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized federal numeric nutrient criteria (NNC) for Florida’s flowing waters and lakes. Even though we represent national organizations and are not based in Florida, we are profoundly concerned with EPA’s actions in Florida. It is apparent that EPA’s development of NNC in Florida establishes a template for how EPA will structure and impose similar nutrient requirements nationwide. In fact, we are already seeing EPA taking steps to impose its Florida model on the six New England states in EPA Region 1 and on the states in the Mississippi River watershed, which encompasses the entire middle of the United States. Thus, the negative attributes of this unprecedented federal mandate for Florida — unsound science, severe economic ramifications, harm to successful state water quality programs, and the absence of appreciable environmental benefits — will likely be a narrative retold in state after state in the coming years.

It’s not just farm and business groups that are alarmed. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and many state and local officials question the cost of and science used to justify the EPA’s expansive, intrusive and expensive NNC rules.

The letter notes one economic analysis’ “most likely scenario” projecting the first phase of the EPA rulemaking would impose statewide costs ranging from $3.1 billion to $8.4 billion in annual costs for the next 30 years. The study (available here) was conducted for the Florida Water Quality Coalition by Cardno Entrix.

The Associated Industries of Florida have also raised strenuous objections.

For more on the EPA’s plans for Florida (but you’re next), see this Federal Register summary from the Unified Regulatory Agenda, “Water Quality Standards (Numeric Nutrient Criteria) for Florida’s Lakes and Flowing Waters.”

Join the discussion 2 Comments

Leave a Reply