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unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Florida Quiz: Is Green Poisonous or Pristine?


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12 May 2011, 1:25 PM
Big-business leader describes state's algae-filled waters as clean and healthy

You decide. Check out this picture of Florida's waterways—choked with algae—and choose which of the following quotes best describes the photo. Both speakers were referring to attempts in the state legislature to keep the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating the amount of nutrients flowing from utilities, industry and large-scale farms into Florida's waterways. The nutrients feed an explosion of algae.

Florida Slime

Microcystis bloom in Caloosahatchee River at Olga, Florida approximately a mile and a half west of the Franklin Lock, south side of the river, October 14, 2005. Photo: Richard Solveson

The first quote is from Associated Industries of Florida CEO and President Barney Bishop, speaking at a business symposium:

Ladies and gentleman, we have clean water in Florida... Don't let any environmentalist tell you otherwise. It is clean, it smells good, it looks good.

The next quote is from David Guest, managing attorney of the Florida office for Earthjustice, which Bishop hyperbolically described as being communist-inspired:

These toxic algae outbreaks are a threat to little kids splashing in the shallows, to family pets and to the elderly... We need to clean up this pollution as soon as we can, and that’s what these EPA limits on sewage, manure and fertilizer pollution are all about.

The EPA regulations—known as standards—were agreed to in 2009 in settlement of an Earthjustice lawsuit. The standards are designed to curb the epidemic growth of algae that kills other aquatic life, poses health risks to humans, and diminshes recreational and tourism opportunities.

The legislative attempts to prevent these standards from being enforced failed.

Hey, that’s really very nice picture, Florida is rich in natural beauty but essential steps needed in order to save aquatic life from this algae attack.

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