PolitiFact: EPA Rules Require Some Drainage Canals To Be Pristine

Ryan Houck
Ryan Houck of Free Market Florida said some drainage canals must be made as clean as the water in the Wekiva River. PolitiFact says that claim is "mostly true."
TALLAHASSEE (2011-4-1) -

Do proposed EPA regulations require a drainage canal in central Florida to be as clean as a federal wild and scenic river nearby? PolitiFact Florida says, basically, it does.

The claim comes from Ryan Houck of the group Free Market Florida. In a video on its website, Houck stands in front of a small, ordinary-looking drainage canal.

"Now what if I told you taxpayers, businesses, farmers and consumers had to spend billions of dollars to make drainage canals like this one every bit as clean as the water here (video cuts to Houck in front of a river) in the Wekiva River ... It may sound absurd, but it's about to happen right here in Florida," he says.

PolitiFact Florida’s Aaron Sharockman researched the issue and found it to be tremendously complicated – but with some caveats, the claim is rated “mostly true.”

A lawsuit by environmental groups is leading the EPA to take over the state’s monitoring of its waterways. The problem is pollution, mostly from fertilizer and other nutrients, that causes green slime to choke springs and rivers.

As it stands now, the EPA rules would require these stricter water-quality standards in canals in central Florida (south Florida canals are not under the same rules, at least not yet).

State officials are asking the EPA to allow those standards to be different for drainage canals, but for now, the claim is mostly true that proposed EPA regulations require a drainage canal in central Florida to be as clean as a federal wild and scenic river nearby, Sharockman said.

PolitiFact also rated a claim from Gov. Rick Scott about the federal healthcare overhaul, which is about one year old.

"Before this law was enacted, Florida parents who were laid off or who couldn't get dependent coverage at work were able to purchase inexpensive 'child-only' coverage for their children," Scott wrote in an op-ed piece in the Tampa Tribune.

"The law's 'consumer protections' have now eliminated that choice in Florida and 17 other states," Scott wrote.

But PolitiFact Florida rated Scott’s claim “false.”

The federal law did not eliminate all inexpensive child-only insurance options in Florida, Sharockman said.

Most private insurers have stopped offering the plans. But the state of Florida offers its “KidCare” health insurance to all children, regardless of income.

Higher-income parents have to pay for KidCare premiums on a sliding scale, but child-only health insurance is available to them, Sharockman said.

CLICK HERE to listen to Sharockman explain these rulings.

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