Credit: EPA

Unfortunately, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is proposing higher pollution limit that would allow more dangerous toxins and carcinogens in our waterways.   On Tuesday, April 23rd, the Environmental Regulation Commission (ERC) decided to postpone a vote on these new proposed limits.   We will provide updates on the next steps in the process, as soon as we have more information.   This is a critical issue that we will remain closely engaged on. 

Here is a letter that Lisa Rinaman, the St. Johns Riverkeeper, recently wrote to the ERC Commissioners. 

Please, contact the ERC members and let them know that we will not stand for more dangerous toxins in our rivers and drinking water.

"Floridians entrust the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to represent our collective best interests by managing and enforcing regulatory programs that protect human health and the environment.

However, DEP’s new approach to setting limits for toxins in Florida’s waters would diminish important protections of public health from environmental exposure to toxic, mutagenic and carcinogenic chemicals and would create a dangerous precedent for weakening protective standards for other threats to public health and environmental quality.

This radical change will put our children, pregnant women and other vulnerable populations at risk.
Rather than protect, DEP’s Toxics Rulemaking efforts appear aimed at subverting the goals of the Clean Water Act.
Waterkeepers are committed to those goals and will fight to reclaim our waterways to make them safe for swimming, drinking and fishing.

A stated purpose of the Toxics Rulemaking is “to eliminate unnecessary compounding conservatism.”

The citizens of Florida deserve the most protective, conservative measures when it comes to our health, the health of our children and to preventing harmful toxins from being released into our waterways.

To the contrary, DEP is proposing a dramatic change in the way risk assessment is calculated.  DEP’s previous approach errs on the side of caution.  The proposed calculation errs on the side of risk actually increasing the amount of toxins allowed in Florida waterways even after adjusting the standards to accommodate Florida’s higher consumption of fish.

Your choice on April 23 is whether:

  • to protect our children, or
  • to increase our children's risk of harmful exposure to toxic, mutagenic and carcinogenic chemicals.

Please protect Florida's children. Please protect Florida's water. Attached is the March 2013 letter submitted to DEP from the Waterkeeper Alliance and all of the Florida Waterkeepers urging their protective oversight. We now ask for yours."

Click here to read the formal comments submitted by the Waterkeeper Alliance and the Florida Waterkeeper organizations, including St. Johns Riverkeeper.

Click here for contact information for the ERC Commissioners.  Please, also contact Herschel Vinyard, the DEP Secretary, and Governor Rick Scott and let them know that we won't accept more toxins in our waterways.