Last year the Sentinel ran a series of excellent reports by Kevin Spear about the condition of 22 Florida rivers from Miami to Pensacola. The prognosis was not good for a growing, thirsty state, heavily dependent on tourism for its economy.
Now, Gov. Rick Scott’s environmental agency is proposing pollution-friendly changes to our water-quality standards. These would adversely affect drinking-water sources, the fish that we consume, and the lakes and rivers in which we swim.
As a former member of Florida’s environmental rule-making body, the Environmental Regulation Comission, I know the existing standards were not arrived at easily or casually. They were debated for many months when all affected parties were invited to contribute their ideas and concerns — and believe me, they did contribute.
The new changes would be significant because many are less-stringent than the bare minimum recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency and existing standards in Alabama.
The proposal to weaken the rule that governs against human-health-based toxins would not adequately protect Floridians’ health. Most at risk would be children, pregnant women and those who enjoy eating a significant amount of local fish and seafood.