Clean Water Network will fight DEP – Pensacola lawyer was one of three votes to lower Florida water quality standards


by Linda Young/Clean Water Network of Florida

As most of you know by now, three members of the Environmental Regulation Commission took their marching orders from the Governor’s office and approved the DEP’s proposed regulations from Human Health Based Toxics Criteria (HHTC).

With 23 of these current criteria going up, you have to wonder, “what in the world are they thinking?”  They won’t get invited to the next cocktail party at the Governor’s mansion if they don’t do what they are told?  Never mind that we are all exposed to enough toxic chemicals everyday anyway.  We don’t need their help getting cancer or any other number of serious health problems.

Who knows what went through their minds, but they voted to increase toxic chemicals in our water and adopted criteria for 90 toxic chemicals that are less protective than EPA recommends.

We all know that EPA is not exactly overboard about protecting us either. So, EPA’s recommendations are bare minimum in my book.

So what’s next?  EPA must approve or disapprove these crazy, cancer-causing criteria (CCCC) before they go into effect.  Whew! Thank goodness for the layers of bureaucracy between us getting more poisoned and the whimsical votes of three people.

By the way, who are these three people? Here’s the list of ERC members who voted to add to our body burden of toxic chemicals:

  1. Sarah Walton, attorney from Pensacola – Call her!!!  (850-470-0091)
  2. Cari Roth – attorney in Tallahassee – call her!!!  (850-999-4100)
  3. Craig Varn – attorney in Tallahassee – ignore him. He’s hopeless and a waste of time.

The EPA has apparently set up a special email address where we can send out complaints about Rick Scott’s new Cancer Lottery for Florida – and that’s exactly what this is.  DEP likes to call it their “Monte Carlo” methodology.  Well, it will definitely be a gamble for those of us who like to drink water and eat fish.

You can send your comments to EPA at this address:

Don’t delay!!! We will be sending an official comment letter within the next week or so and you will all have an opportunity to circulate it and sign on.  But for now, send your comments about this outrageous pandering to polluters and Rick Scott’s corporate buddies to EPA today!! Please.

Thank you in advance for standing up for what’s right. Together we will overcome this temporary insanity that has overtaken our Capitol.


Clean Water Network/released July 28

Despite the shocking  recent decision by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to weaken water quality standards and dramatically increase the risk of cancer and other illnesses from  drinking water, eating fish or shellfish or swimming in Florida’s waters, environmental groups will continue to work to protect public health and the environment by  now turning to stop the federal approval of these changes.

The state has asserted that these changes were a net benefit as they set new standards for pollutants that previously had none, but obviously they could have done so without weakening 23 existing water quality standards – 18 of which are cancer-causing pollutants. Meanwhile, the state also failed to set any water quality standards for 20 other pollutants that the US Environmental Protection Agency has proposed criteria for.
The approval of the DEP proposal was made by the Environmental Regulation Commission, which had two appointed seats to  represent the environmental community and local governments vacant – positions that would have likely made a major difference in the outcome of the meeting. Despite the overwhelming public comment urging them to delay the decision until those seats were filled since there was no urgency to voting on them, or to reject the current changes so DEP would be compelled to propose more protective standards, the ERC hastily approved them on the spot in their entirety.
“[July 27] a major public policy decision was made by the Rick Scott administration,” said Linda Young. “That policy now says that more Floridians are expendable to cancer and other serious health diseases in order for industries to be more profitable.  Our health and lives are apparently of little importance compared to the profits that Rick Scott’s industry buddies could make by dumping more toxic chemicals in our waters,” Young said.
In response to The Environmental Regulation Commission’s (ERC) 3-2 vote to allow the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to increase limits on toxic chemicals in our waters, Florida Clean Water Network and the Conservancy of SW Florida are reaching out the their members, and everyone in Florida with a promise to move forward for Florida’s waters.
While people visiting and living in Florida are already worried that our waters are becoming increasingly polluted and unsafe, these changes will allow even more pollution to be discharged into them.” said Jennifer Hecker, Director of Natural Resource Policy.   “The EPA has a necessary and critical oversight role to reject proposed standards that fall short of adequately protecting public health and the environment, as these standards do.”
Environmentalists, members of Florida’s Democratic Congressional Delegation,  and dozens of other public interest groups are asking EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to hold public hearings in Florida before EPA makes a decision on whether to approve Florida’s controversial new methodology and criteria for human health based toxic chemicals that are dumped in Florida’s waters. Florida Clean Water Network and the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, among others, will also be pushing for EPA to hold hearings in Florida before their decision as to whether or not to approve these standards.
The most important flaw in the DEP’s new regulations is that because of the higher amount of toxic chemicals that will be allowed in our waters, our risk of getting cancer or seriously ill will rise significantly. This risk is for each chemical that DEP has weakened water quality standards for in this proposal, which we are exposed to in food or drinking water.  This policy change comes at a time when much of the state is already experiencing serious water quality violations and  toxic algae blooms.
Linda Young has been the executive director of the Florida Clean Water Network for 22 years, working to protect water quality and helping citizens have a voice in decision making that affects their community waters.  For more info contact her at and learn more about this issue at:


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