Dear Friends of Florida’s Waters:

I wish I had better news, but yesterday Judge Bram Canter dismissed all petitions for an administrative hearing regarding the DEP’s Human Health-based toxics rule. It’s a disappointing Order and you can read it in it’s entirety here:

https://www.doah.state.fl.us/DocDoc/2016/004431/16004431OGEN-091316-15350935.pdf

Judge Canter basically accepted all of DEP’s positions/arguments and rejected EVERYTHING that was raised by the petitioners. I’d like to think that he was forced to sign this order that looks like it was written by DEP, but I have no information or reason to think that happened. It may well be that he truly thought DEP had the best legal arguments. How that could be, I’m not sure. It would be very difficult for anyone to convince me that this was not a political decision. I think the following excerpt from the Judge’s order is a good reflection of his attitude toward all of the issues raised by the Petitioners.Here is the excerpt from the Judge’s order:

“Petitioners’ contention that the effect of proposed rule 62-302.530 could not be determined from the notice in the Register is unpersuasive. JAPC’s description of the strike-through/underline version of the rule as “incomprehensible” is hyperbole. The strike-through/underline version is difficult to read and difficult to use for comparing existing water quality criteria with proposed criteria. It is not incomprehensible.”

DON’T GET DISCOURAGED!!!!! This is not over – not by a long-shot. There are a number of options on the state and federal level and the lawyers are all considering the best route forward. We are working on something already here at FL-CWN which we will share with you very soon, so keep doing what you have been doing. Here’s a reminder of what’s on your to-do list if you want to help us KILL this rule:

  1. Contact your local governments (city/county) about adopting a resolution in opposition to this rule;
  2. Contact your state representative and senator and let them know that you oppose the rule and ask them to take action to stop it;
  3. Send an email to the US EPA to let them know that you oppose the rule. (We will be sending official comment letters soon and you’ll have an opportunity to sign on to them.) The address for EPA is: FloridaHHC@epa.gov

As soon as we know what the next step will be, I will let you know. DO NOT FEEL DISCOURAGED!!! We live in a state where the politicians who are in power do not give a high priority to our health, the health of our natural resources – including wildlife, or a democratic process for decision-making. They are temporarily in power and we can vote them out if we work hard enough to let the general public know what they are doing.

There are many, very smart attorneys and experts working on this. We will keep moving forward to protect Florida’s waters!

For all of Florida’s waters,

Linda Young

 


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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