The Environmental Protection Agency seeks to extend its deadlines for developing revised water quality standards for Florida. The request was filed with the U.S. District Court in Tallahassee the week of May 21.
Ag retailers and other ag industry officials will be watching this case closely as it is believed that the model and criteria set in Florida will likely be used to set criteria in the Mississippi River Basin area and possibly other areas in the future.
The legal battle has been brewing as environmental groups have sought strict criteria to clean up water pollution in Florida’s streams and rivers. In February, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle order EPA to revise its proposed requirements. EPA’s deadline for complying was May 21, then it was moved to June 4.
In the latest move, EPA has requested the deadlines be pushed to Nov. 30 for rivers and streams in much of the state and July 20 for waterways in South Florida and coastal and estuarine waters.
In a filing on May 25, environmental groups criticized the request for an extension. The group claims the pollution is too serious a problem to offer more time for EPA to propose new rules.
In the meantime, Florida agribusinesses and other business groups remain opposed to EPA’s new numeric nutrient criteria, saying the new rules will impose high costs on industry and taxpayers.