Federal Judge Robert Hinkle approved in late 2009 a settlement of a lawsuit about Florida water quality standards. He agreed that the U.S Environmental Protection Agency’s had failed to to make Florida adopt numeric water quality criteria for nutrients and must move to action. The judge did not accept the arguments of opponents that the state should be allowed more time and required that numeric criteria be put in place:
“What you want me to do (is say that) even if Florida’s regulation is inadequate, let it go, not do what the act requires because economic times are hard and (water quality) is worse somewhere else?” the judge asked. “That would be a lawless decision.”
The decision has generated strong opposition from farmers, business, and cities and has been called “technically and scientifically flawed, as well as economically unattainable by the business and public sectors.” It is worthwhile to look back to statements in 1966 and 1968 opposing the state’s adoption of water quality standards for the first time:
Associated Industries, 1966.
“Some waters must have as their primary purposes the fulfillment of recreational needs. Some must be recognized as being commercial or agricultural in nature. And some must be recognized as being industrial.”
St. Regis Paper Company, 1968. “A spokesman for the St. Regis Paper Company charged yesterday that proposed new state anti-pollution regulations could lead to waste of taxpayers’ money and industry profits. Charles Adams of Jacksonville, an environmental control engineer for the company, told Florida Air and Water Pollution Control Commission members that he objects to the rule that would require all cities and industries to remove by treatment 90 percent of their waste materials from discharges going into the ocean or streams….Some streams are safe when the waste is only 50% treated, he said.”