At our November meeting, two important Resolutions were made by Supervisors. The decision to support the Jacksonville City Council's Resolution Expressing Concern Over Changes to Florida's Surface Water Quality Standards was unanimously voted on by the District.
WHEREAS, the federal Clean Water Act requires that states periodically review standards for water quality publicly and adopt changes, as appropriate, and Florida’s current Human Health-Based Water Quality Criteria were last updated in 1992; and
WHEREAS, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) issued new scientific recommendations in 2015 based on national water quality and demographic trends; and
WHEREAS, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (“FDEP”) is required to apply the EPA’s guidelines while also accounting for Florida’s specific water chemistry and population through human health-based criteria; and
WHEREAS, FDEP has proposed human health criteria for 39 new compounds and has revised criteria for 43 currently regulated compounds. Of the 82 proposed new criteria, numerous chemicals have higher limits resulting from the proposed FDEP methodology compared to the recommended EPA methodology; and
WHEREAS, on Tuesday, July 26, 2016, the Commission voted 3-2 to support changes that increase the amount of numerous toxic chemicals in Florida’s waterways; and there are currently two empty seats on the Commission, one representing local government and the other for representatives of the environmental community, resulting in key stakeholder groups from being adequately represented on important statewide regulatory decisions; and
WHEREAS, while FDEP has held 13 public meetings since 2012 on this matter, only three public meetings were held after 2013 and none of the meetings were held in Duval County; and
WHEREAS, the City of Jacksonville makes recommendations through the formal resolution process; now therefore
BE IT RESOLVED
The DUVAL SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT is concerned over the proposed changes to the State Human Health-Based Water Quality Criteria and Requests further review of the Criteria by the EPA. We urge the Environmental Protection Agency to provide appropriate public comment period for the proposed standards Health-Based Water Quality Criteria and to thoroughly evaluate the methods used to determine the proposed Human Health-Based Water Quality Criteria to ensure the utmost protection for Florida’s citizens, environment and economy.
Author, Shannon Blankinship
Chairman, Duval Soil and Water Conservation District