FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 7, 2012
STATEMENT FROM DEP SECRETARY HERSCHEL T. VINYARD JR. REGARDING OUTCOME OF ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING FOR NUMERIC NUTRIENT STANDARDS
“Today’s ruling by Administrative Law Judge Bram D. E. Canter upholds DEP’s numeric nutrient standard rules, further supporting and validating that Florida is taking the right steps to get our state’s water right. These rules have been peer reviewed and have received not only the full support of the legislature and members of the Cabinet, but of the court, as well.
“The state of Florida is, and has historically been, a national leader in assessing and addressing the health of our waterways. Florida has spent years studying our waterbodies, and no one knows our water better than us. DEP scientists and other hard-working professionals have dedicated their lives to protecting the environment and understanding the complexity of Florida’s unique waterbodies. Florida has made a significant investment, spanning more than a decade, studying and collecting data regarding nutrients in Florida’s unique aquatic ecosystems. We have used this science to develop a set of rules for the state of Florida that are the most comprehensive nutrient standards in the nation.
“We have crafted not only standards, but also the rules detailing implementation of the standards. Our rules provide a clear process for identifying waters impaired by nutrients, preventing harmful discharges and establishing necessary reductions. They provide a reasonable and predictable implementation strategy and avoid unnecessary costs on Florida’s households and businesses. DEP has invested millions of dollars to generate nutrient rules for Florida’s waters and has now received a full endorsement from the judge confirming that DEP’s rules will protect our waterways at an affordable price.
“Our rules have been submitted to EPA for their final review and approval. EPA scientists have already confirmed that DEP’s rules are accurate, correct and will continue to improve our state’s water quality. With today’s pronouncement by the court that Floridians and DEP are on the right track to getting the water right, we look forward to getting them on the books as soon as possible. It’s time to turn our focus on improving water quality, put our plan into action and end needless litigation that delays Florida’s rules.”