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Our thanks go to Cris Costello and the Floridians Clean Water Declaration Campaign for dispersing this document to send to our EPA. Our Florida Department of Environmental Protection has become dysfunctional and has lost sight of its mission, pandering to industry at the expense of the health and well-being of Florida’s citizens.
OSFR is proud to join many other great organizations here to sign on to the letter.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-
The Floridians’ Clean Water Declaration Campaign Steering Committee (www.wewantcleanwater.com) is distributing the attached sign-on comment letter to US EPA for organizations and businesses to consider signing –
October X, 2016
Hon. Gina McCarthy, Administrator
United States Environmental Protection Agency
Mail Code 1101A
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460
Hon. Heather McTeer Toney, Regional Administrator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4
Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center
61 Forsyth Street, SW
Atlanta, GA 30303-8960
Submitted via electronic mail
Re: Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Human-Health Based Water Quality Criteria, 62-302.530 Fla. Admin. Code.
Dear Mses. McCarthy and Toney:
The undersigned X organizations and businesses working in Florida and committed to protecting our state’s water resources and citizens’ health write in opposition to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)’s recent revisions to Human Health-Based Water Quality Criteria, 62-302.530. We ask EPA to invalidate the rule and hold DEP accountable for developing a rule consistent with the substantive and procedural requirements of the Clean Water Act. The rule is not protective of human health or the environment. We ask you not to approve the rule and to instead direct DEP to reissue a rule based on a precautionary and protective approach to human health. Where the state is unwilling to protect the environment and human health, the federal government must step in to ensure that all citizens are protected under the minimum standards set forth in the Clean Water Act.
The rule raises allowable limits on pollution for over two-dozen contaminants, including Benzene, a chemical component of fracking waste that is known to cause leukemia. The vast majority of these new criteria are less protective than your agency recommends. The rule also deems a 1-in-100,000 cancer risk as acceptable for subsistence fishermen, and bases its population risk assessments on fish consumption data that may not accurately reflect the amount of fish that Floridians consume. If the fish are not safe for human consumption, it goes without saying that the revised standards are far from protective of Class III waters for fish and other wildlife.
In developing its rule, DEP also made no attempt to account for synergistic effects of exposure to a combination of chemicals. Finally, the DEP has made no attempt to regulate the additional 25 toxic chemicals for which EPA has offered proposed criteria. Therefore, even if this rulemaking were protective for the contaminants it does regulate, it would only be doing half the job.
Moreover, EPA cannot rely on the sufficiency of Florida’s public rulemaking process. The process by which the rule was promulgated was deeply flawed:
- The Environmental Regulatory Commission, the body responsible for final approval of the rule, has had a vacancy for the seat representing environmental interests for over a year.
- The Commission is also missing a representative from local government.
- The seat intended for a lay citizen is currently held by Craig Varn, former DEP general council who has helped to defend a number of the agency’s anti-environmental rules.
- The development of the rule also limited public participation. The Department disingenuously claims it held 11 public hearings during rule development, but the majority of these workshops were held in 2012, since which time the rule has undergone substantial revisions.
- The timeline for the rule was accelerated from September to July without the statutorily required minimum notice.
- Lastly, the state’s Joint Administrative Procedures Committee (JAPC) sent a letter to DEP stating that the public notice did not meet the requirements, and also noted that the notice of proposed rulemaking was published in a form that was incomprehensible to the general public, effectively preventing full public participation.
The process by which the rule was promulgated was deeply flawed, and unfortunately, this has become all too familiar in Florida. This rulemaking is emblematic of a larger trend on the part of the current state administration to consistently ignore Floridians’ concerns regarding human health and the environment. Environmental enforcement is at an all-time low, Florida’s waters continue to be beset by harmful algae blooms, and the 2014 conservation constitutional amendment passed by 75% of Florida voters has not been implemented as intended. And now, DEP proposes to increase allowable levels of toxic chemicals in Florida’s waters.
DEP has failed Floridians. We are asking EPA to step in and protect our environment and public health from the agency’s latest giveaway to polluter interests. Again, we ask EPA to invalidate the rule and hold DEP accountable for developing a rule consistent with the substantive and procedural requirements of the Clean Water Act. If the state again fails to implement meaningful protections, we ask EPA to impose federal water quality criteria that will protect Floridians’ health and the environment.
Thank you for your consideration,
1000 Friends of Florida
Ryan Smart, President
Dan Tonsmeire, Riverkeeper
Vicki Impoco, President
Christopher Maroney, Co-Founder
Calhoun County Citizens Against Fracking
Thersia Smith, Secretary
Camelot Technology Integration
Gayle M. Ryan, Owner
Center for Earth Jurisprudence
Traci L. Deen, Esq.
Citizens Combating Climate Change
Joyce Wasserman, President
City of Seminole Community Garden
Mary Ann Kirk, Secretary
Clean Water Action
Kathy Aterno, National Managing Director
Concerned Citizens of Bayshore Community, Inc.
Steven Brodkin, President
Conservancy of Southwest Florida
Jennifer Hecker, Director of Natural Resource Policy
Defenders of Wildlife”
Ben Prater, Southeast Program Director
Democratic Women’s Club of Bay County
Candice Burgess, President
Allen Stewart III P.E. LLC
Allen Stewart P.E.
Earth Action, Inc.
Mary Gutierrez, Executive Director
Laurie Murphy, Executive Director/Coastkeeper
Florida Artists Water Alliance
Paul Garfinkel, Founder
Florida Coastal Ocean Coalitionds
Jessica Farrell, Acting Coordinator
Florida Defenders of the Environment
Jim Gross, Executive Director
Florida Native Plant Society, Conradina Chapter
Carol Hebert, President
Florida Paddling Trails Association
Jill Lingard, President
Florida Springs Council
Dan Hilliard, President
Florida Wildlife Federation
Manley Fuller, President
Food and Water Watch
Jorge Aguilar, Southern Region Director
Friends of Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
Elinor Williams, President
Friends of St. Sebastian River
Tim Glover, President
Friends of Warm Mineral Springs
Dr. Juliette Jones, Director
Green Party of Duval County
Larry Snider, Co-Chair
John Jopling, President
Indian River Paddle Adventure
John Kumiski and Rodney Smith, Co-Founders
Marty Baum, Riverkeeper
International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), FL Chapter
Diana Umpierre, IDA FL Chapter Chair
League of Women Voters of Florida
Pamela Goodman, President
Lobby for Animals
Thomas Ponce, President
Neil A. Armingeon, Riverkeeper
Rachel Silverstein, Executive Director and Waterkeeper
National Parks Conservation Association
John Adornato, III, Sun Coast Regional Director
National Wildlife Federation
Jessie Ritter, Policy Specialist
Ocean Research and Conservation Association
George L. Jones, Director of Special Projects
Our Children’s Earth Foundation
Tiffany Schauer, Executive Director
Our Santa Fe River
Pamela I. Smith, President
Paddle Florida, Inc.
Bill Richards, Executive Director
Pelican Island Audubon Society
Dr. Richard H. Baker, President
People for Protecting Peace River, Inc.
Brooks Armstrong, President
Mark Ferrulo, Executive Director
Progress for All
Tim Canova, Chairman
Putnam County Environmental Council
Tim Keyser, President
Rainbow River Conservation, Inc.
Dr. Burton Eno, President
Rebah FarmCarol Ahearn, Owner
Millard McCleary, Executive Program Director
Rethink Energy Florida
Kim Ross, President
Santa Fe Lake Dwellers Association
Jill McGuire, President
Save the Manatee Club
Dr. Katie Tripp, Director of Science and Conservation
Saving the Face of Florida
Gina LaBruno, President
Sea Turtle Conservancy
Gary Appelson, Policy Coordinator
Seminole Soil and Water Conservation District
Ed Young, Group 4 Supervisor
Seminole United Methodist Church Community Garden
Robert T. Huttick, Coordinator
South Florida Audubon Society
Grant Campbell, Director of Wildlife Policy
South Florida Wildlands
Matthew Schwartz, Executive Director
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Laura Reynolds, Energy-Water Specialist
Debra Johnson, Board Member
Springs Eternal Project
John Moran, Nature Photographer
St. Johns Riverkeeper
Lisa Rinaman, Riverkeeper
Stone Crab Alliance
Karen Dwyer, Co-Founder
Justin Bloom, Executive Director
Sunshine State Interfaith Power and Light
Rev. Andy Bell, Board President
Holly Parker, Florida Regional Manager
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
Dr. Edward W. Tamson, Florida Representative
Villages Environmental Discussions Group
Mary Hampton, Founder and Moderator
Volusia Indian River Lagoon Coalition
Bob Chew, Founder and Co-Chair
Dan Hilliard, President