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Dead Fish and Sick People Don't Stop Florida's Water Polluters


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View David Guest's blog posts
18 August 2010, 10:34 AM
They ask Congress to keep the toxic good times flowing
St. John's River algae infestation - Courtesy Jacksonville University

Florida's St. John's River is fouled this summer with green slime, and dead fish are washing up on its shores. Every time it rains, nutrients like phosphorous and nitrogen poison this river and others all over Florida. The poison comes from sewage, animal manure and fertilizer.

It is a crisis big enough that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency agreed in November 2009 to set the first-ever legal limits for nutrient poisoning.

But, now, polluters are trying to derail efforts to clean up Florida's waters. They arrived enmasse recently at Congress, where they met with numerous federal lawmakers to try getting a rider put on the federal appropriations bill. The rider would, unbelievably, prevent EPA from setting important new limits on nutrient pollution. The rider may be introduced in a few weeks.

These polluters act as if the dead fish floating on Florida waters don't exist. They ignore media reports like the recent TV news headline: "Unhealthy River Making Neighbors Sick." A 2008 Florida Department of Environmental Protection report found that half - half! - of the state's rivers, and more than half of its lakes, had poor water quality.

Exposure to these algae toxins—when people drink the water, touch it, or inhale vapors from it - can cause rashes, skin and eye irritation, allergic reactions, gastrointestinal upset, serious illness and even death.

The EPA committed to set these nutrient pollution limits after Earthjustice, representing Florida Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida, and the St. Johns Riverkeeper, filed a major lawsuit in July 2008 to compel the EPA to set strict limits on nutrient poisoning in public waters.

The suit challenged the unacceptable decade-long delay by the state and federal governments in setting limits for nutrient pollution. EPA is set to finalize pollution limits for Florida's freshwaters and lakes in October 2010. Pollution limits for estuaries and flowing waters in South Florida are to be set by August 2012.

This isn't just Florida's problem.

In Massachusetts, algae blooms and invasive plants now foul once-clear Silver Lake, which gets 10 million gallons of nutrient-poisoned water every day, pumped from Monponsett and Furnace Ponds.

In Colorado, Grand Lake—once one of the clearest lakes in North America—turned pea-soup green with toxic algae that can make people and animals sick. Pollution shut down a drinking water plant which uses the lake's water. The main culprit is nutrient-poisoned water conveyed through the lake by the giant pumps and tunnels of the federal Colorado Big Thompson water-supply project.

Residents in Massachusetts, Colorado, Florida and the nation deserve to have clean water. We need to let our representatives and senators in Washington know we'll hold them accountable if they bow to polluters instead of standing up for clean water.
 

We left the Palatka, Fl Area in June. I just kept getting sicker and sicker the last few year. Horse voice could not breathe. We Left in July. I can breatha again.

i am really upset with the pollution we human beings had caused to nature. but, he will give all bad effects back to us ourselves while now nobody care it.

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First let me thank Earthjustice and its staff for your aggressive and successful efforts to slam the door on any and all abusers of the environment, of people, of wildlife, through their self-serving actions and corporate greed. I understand what a formidable task it is and appreciate how well you do it.

An idea borrowed from Franklin Delano Roosevelt:

When President Roosevelt wanted to let the public know how "disappointed" he was with certain members of Congress who voted against legislation that he wanted passed, he would express his disappointment with them on his weekly "fireside chat" by mentioning them by name/state, letting the public know exactly how they had voted and how their position was not in the best interests of the people. This he did in a tone that resembled a parent voicing his disapproval of a child's behavior. I'm sure they hated him for it, but it got the desired effect because constituents then contacted those individuals putting them on the hot seat. The rider on the appropriations bill you reference re: the EPA might serve such a purpose by making public by name/state those members of Congress in the affected states who are supporting these polluters' interests and intend to vote (or have voted) for this rider. Let them know exactly where their elected congressional leaders stand on the issue and how disappointing it is - or a variation of this approach - just a thought. Some simple straightforward caption that would capture the attention and which could become the signature opening for any further revelations on the voting behavior of legislators anywhere - an ongoing "fireside chat" as it were.

nothing will be left but some ugly obese humans...all diversity of landscape, oceanscape and wildife will be either mutant or gone. Thanks, industrial POLUTTORS. You finally Killed MOTHER (earth that is)

this isn't good at all. this is what i'm doing to help out with the oil spill.
http://lifeinprogress-jesslope.blogspot.com/2010/08/oil-spill.html

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