With algae outbreaks turning South Florida’s coastal rivers and beaches a fluorescent green and No Swimming signs posted as we approach the Fourth of July holiday, the Florida Department of Agriculture is proposing to wipe out a state requirement that local governments use to monitor fertilizer use.
The Florida Department of Agriculture is proposing to wipe out a state requirement that tracks how many tons of fertilizer are sold.
Cities, counties, and other organizations use state-reported fertilizer sales information to figure out how much pollution could be headed to local waterways. Excess fertilizer, manure, and partially treated sewage spark nasty algae outbreaks in public waters, like the one sliming the coast north of Palm Beach right now.
Incredibly, as this environmental crisis unfolds, the Florida Department of Agriculture is proposing to wipe out a state requirement that tracks how many tons of fertilizer are sold.
John Moran for Earthjustice
Pollution from sewage, manure and fertilizer sparked an outbreak of nasty green slime in the spring-fed Santa Fe River near Gainesville, Florida, during Memorial Day weekend in 2012. The river is popular with boaters, anglers and swimmers. More photos of toxic algae outbreaks in Florida.
“The slime outbreaks on our South Florida coasts are heartbreaking,” said Earthjustice attorney Alisa Coe. “These slugs of fertilizer-laden water are coming from Lake Okeechobee. When they pump it to the coasts, you can see what happens. Instead of trying to hide information from the public, the Department of Agriculture ought to be trying to solve this public crisis.”
Earthjustice, representing the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida, is asking the state to hold a public hearing before it considers approving the rule to hide fertilizer information.
Video footage recorded June 27, 2016, at the St. Lucie River by Dylan Hansen:
Florida’s Toxic Mess
Why are some of Florida’s beaches turning green?
Posted by Earthjustice on Friday, July 1, 2016