Earthjustice Presents Arguments in Case to Protect Florida Waters from Sewage, Manure and Fertilizer Pollution

Case in U.S. District Court challenges federal rulemaking


David Guest, Earthjustice, (850) 681-0031

Earthjustice argued today in the U.S. District Court’s Northern District of Florida as part of its challenge against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rules on sewage, fertilizer and manure pollution.

A toxic algae outbreak on southwest Florida’s Caloosahatchee River in June 2011 fouls waterfront property. (John Cassani)  View photo slideshow.

Earthjustice’s challenge is an attempt to strengthen federal limits on two so-called “nutrients,” phosphorus and nitrogen, which spur toxic algae outbreaks throughout Florida. Phosphorus and nitrogen pollution comes from sewage, manure, and fertilizer, which runs into stream, lakes, springs, and rivers every time it rains.

“We continued our fight today to clean up our public waters and prevent these nauseating toxic algae outbreaks. This toxic slime is a public health threat and it needs to be stopped,” said Earthjustice Attorney David Guest.

After years of seeing toxic algae outbreaks on Florida tourist beaches like Sanibel Island and at fishing destinations like the St. Johns River, Earthjustice filed a Clean Water Act federal lawsuit in 2008 in the Northern District of Florida on behalf of the Florida Wildlife Federation, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida, St. John’s Riverkeeper, and the Sierra Club. In 2009, the EPA set numeric limits for the phosphorus and nitrogen that comes from sewage, fertilizer and manure in Florida waters.

Earthjustice’s latest challenge is an attempt to make the EPA’s limits more effective.

Judge Robert Hinkle did not rule from the bench, but indicated he will issue a ruling soon.

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