Dear Friends of Florida’s Waters:

I’ve started on an update several times over the past week and each time, there was new information flowing in that made me start over. Including today. So this is my second attempt today and I’m hoping that if I can type fast enough with no interruptions that I may get this out to you before it’s outdated.



As we were about to send you the first version (for today) of this newsletter, I checked the DOAH website for last minute postings/filings and sure enough in the last few minutes of the day (I have checked the site at least 10 times today) there are six new filings posted. The most exciting one is a MOTION TO INTERVENE by the City of Miami and it is outstanding. It states that the City has also filed a petition for an administrative hearing, with a request to have their case merged with the Seminoles’ case, but then also filed a motion to intervene to be extra cautious. With DEP playing fast and loose with the rules and procedures that we SHOULD be able to count on, one can’t be too cautious.

Dealing with Rick Scott’s agencies is more and more like spinning a roulette wheel. You may get cancer if you eat fish, you may get a statutorily guaranteed hearing, or you may not. Spin the wheel and see what happens. Life is risky in Florida these days.

Meanwhile the Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) filed a motion to dismiss the Seminoles’ petition for an administrative hearing, claiming that the petition was filed a few minutes late on the last day to petition. As Fred Grimm, columnist for the Miami Herald said in this great column today:

DEP is probably afraid that a mass of angry Floridians will show up at the DOAH hearing, or even worse case scenario, the Seminoles could win and the DEP would have to start over. That’s what should happen. We will be watching the docket at DOAH.

So even though DEP is asking the judge to throw the Tribe out of court, DEP filed notices late today of three sets of discovery requests that were sent to the Seminoles. Hmmm . . . DEP doesn’t sound too sure of their footing on their claim that the Seminoles missed the deadline.

There are so many interesting developments in this case that I can’t go into here, but stay tuned as I will keep you posted as often as possible.

The Seminoles allege that they eat about 5 ounces per day of fish. With DEP’s “probabilistic methodology” it is almost impossible to know what fish consumption rate they use in their equation, but its somewhere in the neighborhood of less than one ounce per day at best and likely much less than that. I could honestly say that my fish consumption rate is much more inline with the Seminoles. Many people I know also eat that much fish. Why should we not be protected from toxic chemicals when we eat a high-quality protein that is abundantly available to us? DEP’s claim that high-end fish consumers are protected at a one in 10,000 cancer deaths risk level is simply not true. We are digging through DEP’s assumptions and voo-doo science to prove that their claims are unfounded. We will keep you posted on our progress.

Aside from the tangled “methodologies”, DEP admits that their new criteria increase our risk of dying from cancer when we are exposed to water. As many others have said, we should not be dumping toxic chemicals in our waters AT ALL. How does that make sense in 2016? It doesn’t. So what more can we do while we wait to see what happens to the Seminoles’ petition? Here’s what I suggest and hope you will do:

  1. Send an email to your state representative and state senator and ask for their help. Share your concerns, outrage, etc. over this policy change that increases allowable toxic discharges to our rivers and estuaries. Ask them to go on the record if they oppose this rule and the increase of toxics in our waters. If you get something in writing from them, please send it to your local media immediately!!!
  1. Contact your local government leaders at the city and county level and ask for their help. This week, Wakulla County passed the first resolution (that I know of) in the state by a local government, opposing the new human health toxics criteria. We need to get similar resolutions passed statewide. You can get a copy of the Wakulla resolution by contacting me at: If you need help explaining the rule, we can help you with that. Just let me know what you need and we will help you get your local government engaged.
  1. Contact EPA – The email address where you can send your thoughts is: Apparently the address is case-sensitive so be sure to be exact. Tell EPA that you oppose the rule, as it does not protect the designated uses of our waters (drinking, fishing, swimming). Only three people, one of whom had a conflict of interest at best and may have been illegally appointed, approved the rule. Two critical seats on the ERC were empty – on purpose – so Rick Scott’s Cancer Lottery would be certain for approval. Regardless of what happens with the Seminoles’ case, EPA should disapprove the rule.
  1. KEEP SHARING THIS INFORMATION WITH EVERYONE YOU KNOW!!! Everyone in Florida has a right to know about this outrageous weakening of Florida’s water quality standards. Help us make sure that EVERYONE knows what our Governor is up to.

Thank you for everything you are doing in this matter and many others. As Fred Grimm says in his column, Rick Scott could not have picked a more gruesome year to loosen rules on toxic chemicals. Our waters are in big trouble everywhere but together we can take back our water policy from the polluters and their pandering politicians. I look forward to hearing about your efforts and your progress!!

For all of Florida’s Waters,                                                                                                       Linda Young                                                                                                                              Florida Clean Water Network                                                                                                       PO Box 5124                                                                                                                          Navarre, FL 32566,                                                                                                      850.322.7978                                                                                                    

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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