EPA Proposing Taking Over Monitoring State Waterways

Red Tide in Tampa Bay
Red Tide in Tampa Bay
TAMPA (2010-4-14) -

The federal Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to take over monitoring the quality of the state's waters from Tallahassee. The public got a chance to weigh in today during a hearing held in Tampa.

The quality of Florida's waterways has become so poor that the federal government has determined the state is in violation of the Clean Water Act. The decision stems from a lawsuit filed two yeas ago by the Florida Wildlife Federation.

EPA officials already held three public hearings, but there was such an outpouring of emotions that three more are being held this week. Several hundred people filled a hall at a Tampa hotel - and at this hearing, most of the speakers supported the EPA's move. Sarasota marine biologist John Taylor supports the proposed limits on nutrients in waterways.

"I've also been saddened by irreprerable destruction and widespread deterioration of a very large percentage of Florida's estuaries, tidal tributaries and inland waterways and wetlands," says Taylor. "Consequently, I'm delighted to see some forward movement.

Robert McCoy is with the Florida Carpenter's Regional Council. He says not enough consideration has been taken into the economic impact of new regulations.

"When we hear the federal government say $100 million, we hear $500 million," says McCoy. "We want to know this is going to be paid, who's going to pay for it, how much it's going to cost, and what effect its going to have on industry. Our livelihoods are at stake here."

The EPA estimates implementing the new regulations would cost as much as $140 million a year, with a total cost of nearly $1.5 billion.

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