More than 5,700 Florida voters have signed a petition urging President Obama to halt U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) efforts to implement draconian (nutrient criteria) water regulations in the state of Florida. The petition was inspired by the “We the People” initiative that was recently launched by the White House. By obtaining more than 5,000 signatures, the petition, which was started in the state of Florida in September, has met the signature threshold required to obtain a formal response from the White House, as well as assurance that White House staff will share the concerns raised by the petition with appropriate policy experts.

The language of the petition addresses the costs associated with EPA’s numeric nutrient criteria rule, which several studies have estimated to be in the billions. Florida voters who signed the petition believe EPA’s rule will have “grave consequences on job creation and economic growth in Florida.”

The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), the national trade association representing the U.S. fertilizer industry, supports the arguments raised by the petition and has consistently expressed its opposition to EPA’s actions in Florida. 

“This rule has an enormous cost and little benefit and we are urging EPA to reconsider this action,” said TFI President Ford West. “We advocate smart and targeted policies that address water quality without placing an undue economic burden on farmers and the industries that support them. Such policies can achieve both environmental and food security goals.” 

The federally derived nutrient rule signed by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on Nov. 14, 2010, and published in the Federal Register on Dec. 6 would replace the narrative nutrient criteria which were already being applied by Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) with arbitrary standards and questionable science.

With 10.7 percent unemployment and job recovery uncertain, this rule is a threat to many sectors of Florida’s economy, including the fertilizer industry.