The Fertilizer Institute  joined 47 other national organizations and businesses in writing to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency  Administrator Lisa Jackson, urging her to approve the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Numeric Nutrient Criteria rule and withdraw the rule entitled “Water Quality Standards for the State of Florida’s Lakes and Flowing Waters” promulgated by EPA in December 2010.

The letter follows a February court ruling, directing EPA to implement numeric standards for lakes and springs in Florida. The letter urged that EPA adopt a suite of science-based standards developed by FDEP.

The FDEP NNC rule was unanimously approved by the Florida Environmental Regulation Commission, the Florida Legislature and signed by Governor Rick Scott. 

In addition to TFI, the Agricultural Retailers Association also signed the letter to the EPA.

"This letter showcases the importance of this issue to Florida and beyond," said Daren Coppock, president and CEO, Agricultural Retailers Association. "The agricultural industry remains committed to conservation and stewardship practices like the 4Rs. The court agreed with industry last month by ruling that the criteria should be based in science and The nutrient criteria developed by EPA is not. EPA should accept Florida's proposed NNC."

“Florida is recognized as a national leader in implementing a sophisticated suite of water quality and technology-based nutrient management programs to protect its water bodies,” stated the letter. “In fact, FDEP has spent more than $20 million during the last decade to collect and analyze data related to the concentrations and impacts of nutrients in Florida’s water bodies. By utilizing this data and analysis, FDEP has worked tirelessly over the past year to develop scientifically defensible water quality standards. While there will be significant costs associated with these standards, we believe they are technically achievable standards that our members and other stakeholders will be able to meet while working in partnership with the state.”

The fertilizer industry supports sustainable nutrient use based on 4R stewardship (use of the right fertilizer source at the right rate, the right time and in the right place). Through 4R nutrient stewardship, farmers are implementing best management practices that optimize the efficiency of fertilizer use by matching nutrient supply with crop requirements and to minimize nutrient losses. Further information on this science-based system is available at www.nutrientstewardship.com.