Historic EPA Settlement: EPA and Florida Must Set Limits on Fertilizer and Animal Waste Pollution in State Waters
November 19, 2009
On November 16, 2009, a coalition of groups, including Sierra Club, achieved a monumental win when a federal judge approved a landmark settlement that requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set legal limits for the widespread nutrient poisoning that triggers harmful algae blooms in Florida waters. The change in federal policy comes 13 months after five environmental groups filed a major lawsuit to compel the federal government to set strict limits on nutrient poisoning in public waters.
Nutrients like phosphorous and nitrogen poison Florida’s waters every time it rains; running off agricultural operations, fertilized landscapes, and septic systems. The poison runoff triggers slimy algae outbreaks which foul Florida’s beaches, lakes, rivers, and springs, threatening public health, closing swimming areas, and even shutting down a southwest Florida drinking water plant.
This action has nationwide implications. Florida and most other states have only vague limits regulating nutrient pollution. EPA will now begin the process of imposing quantifiable—and enforceable—water quality standards to tackle nutrient pollution.
Details and Documents:
Judge Approves Historic EPA Settlement: EPA and Florida Must Set Limits on Fertilizer and Animal Waste Pollution in State Waters
Earthjustice News Release, November 16, 2009
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