It’s Friday again, already and it has been a very busy week.  I have much to tell you but I’m going to break it down into several emails over the next couple of weeks.  If you don’t make it to the end of this email here is the most important thing for you to know and action to take no later than next Tuesday, February 12th:

Please send an email to Florida DEP and tell them that a one-week window to comment on their newly proposed criteria/methodology/technical support document is not sufficient for anyone’s review and meaningful comment.  In fact, as of today, Friday, February 8th, the Technical Support Document for the human health-based toxics criteria is not even available for our review.  Please send this message to Eric Shaw at:

DEP’s workshop on Tuesday regarding toxic chemicals regulations was somewhat predictable and somewhat infuriating. This is not going to be a full report, as there is too much to tell in one email.  Also, we don’t have all the information that we need from DEP to do our complete analysis of their newly released proposed toxic chemical limits for your drinking water and fishing/swimming waters. There was some good news and that’s what I’ll share first and then the rest of the story.

GOOD NEWS – The US EPA finally pushed back a little on Florida’s pro-polluter plan to allow high levels of toxic chemicals in our drinking water and in the fish we eat. This made the latest proposed regulations for some of the approximately 70 toxic chemicals slightly less bad than DEP’s last proposal. That is not much to cheer about but it is a small step forward and the first time that I have seen EPA doing anything in the public interest since Bill Clinton was President.

So for the 70 (plus or minus) human-health based toxic chemicals that are proposed for new or revised criteria, almost all of the carcinogenic chemicals are proposed to be regulated at a MUCH less protective level than the EPA recommends. Most are at least twice as high as they should be and we have done a comparison of Alabama’s criteria for these same chemicals and we are about three to five times higher (less protective) for all but four carcinogens.

The proposed criteria for non-carcinogens is somewhat better (than horrible) but still unacceptable.

Some of the most deadly and/or damaging chemicals such as dioxin and mercury are being completely ignored by DEP.

As we learn the full, sad extent of how radical DEP and the Governor’s office has gotten, we will share more information with you.  I want to be careful to have a full and clear understanding myself before I give more details. One thing that is clear right now is that DEP/Gov Scott is reaching for the bottom of the barrel.  We see that our drinking water and fish supplies are in grave danger. The pulp and paper, and phosphate industries, as well as the coal-fired power plants are all thrilled at this radical weakening of Florida’s water quality standards. We will need everyone’s help to stop this from happening so please watch for my regular updates and remember you can always get more information from the website:

Please send the email above.  This will be the first of several that we will ask you to send over the next month or two.  I try to not pester you with too many of these action alerts so you know when I ask, that it is REALLY important.  We are talking about your drinking water, the fish you eat and the amount of toxic chemicals that will be allowed in them.

Thank you in advance for helping with this and for being part of our network of people who care about Florida’s waters, its wildlife, its people and its future.

For all of Florida’s waters,

Linda Young
Florida Clean Water Network

About the Author

Linda Young has been the executive director of the Clean Water Network of Florida since 1994. From 1989 to 1997, she founded and published a monthly statewide environmental newspaper. Over the past twenty three years, she has co-founded some of the most long-lasting and effective environmental organizations in the Southeast, including the Gulf Restoration Network, Gulf Coast Environmental Defense and C.A.T.E. She holds a B.A. in Communications from Southern Oregon University and a M.A. in Political Science/Campaign Management from the University of West Florida.

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