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Thousands Join Florida Anti-Slime Brigade

A big thank you to the more than 17,000 people who have sent letters to the White House so far in support of strong U.S. Environmental Protection Agency limits for sewage, manure and fertilizer in Florida waters. We so appreciate you all having our backs on our quest to clean up Florida’s number-one pollution problem.

As you know, we’ve been suffering down here from repeated toxic algae outbreaks that cover our waters with green slime -- outbreaks triggered by the excess phosphorus and nitrogen from sewage, manure and fertilizer. We had toxic algae and nasty fish kills around beautiful Sanibel Island over the winter holidays. In January, Fort Myers had an algae outbreak on the Calooshatchee River that had people holding their noses because it smelled like raw sewage. There’s been an algae outbreak killing aquatic life in the Indian River for a year, and red tide in the Gulf – which is fueled by excess nutrients -- has been sickening and killing manatees, sea turtles, and cormorants on the state’s southwest coast.

Since our tourists come from everywhere, we need folks around the country – and around the globe – to speak out and help us win the battle against these polluters who are intent on using our public waters as their private sewers. So keep those cards and letters coming to the White House.

The polluter lobbyists have been very busy lately in Florida and in Washington. They just got their politician friends in the Florida Legislature to pass a bill that’s another attempted end-run around the EPA’s limits. And they got a Florida congressman – Rep. Steve Southerland - to introduce a bill in Congress, “The State Waters Partnership Act,” which would further hamper EPA’s ability to set water pollution limits in Florida.

Again, the EPA’s federal limits will help clean up the toxic algae mess; the state’s rule won’t. In fact, it was drafted by polluter lobbyists and rubber-stamped by state regulators. So we need to keep the pressure on the Obama Administration to stand firm on federal limits for Florida. Sadly, Florida’s leaders just aren’t doing their jobs to protect people from this ongoing public health threat.

You would think our leaders would agree that it’s a good idea to get sewage, manure and fertilizer out of our water – especially in a state that’s known for boating, diving, fishing and swimming – but apparently not!

We are busy, busy, busy with our legal battles on several fronts: we are litigating against polluters over the EPA’s pollution limits, and we head to court this month to challenge the ineffective rule that Florida has offered up as a substitute.

If you haven’t yet sent a letter to the White House, you can do so here. And, if you could, please ask your friends to do the same. It really helps.