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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

A bipartisan effort forces EPA to delay, again, new water rules for Florida



WASHINGTON -- A raft of policy riders were dropped from the budget deal approved late Friday, including one that would have prevented the Environmental Protection Agency from enforcing controversial new clean water standards in Florida. But the rules are on hold anyway.

The EPA says it will study the cost of implementing the changes, one of the principle complaints from businesses in Florida.

"In these difficult economic times, when unemployment is still above 10 percent in our state, we have to weigh the costs of any new mandate very carefully," Rep. Tom Rooney, who led the fight in the House, said today. "The decision by the EPA to review the costs with an independent audit is a good first step."

It was Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson who wrote EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to request the independent cost analysis. In a letter, Nelson noted that while the EPA estimated the cost to local government and businesses would be between $135 million and $206 million, the Florida Department of Agriculture put the ag industry cost alone at $1.6 billion.

Jackson wrote back to Nelson last week to say she agreed more study is necessary. (letter is attached)


[Last modified: Monday, April 11, 2011 2:34pm]


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