Several updates related to the state and federal numeric nutrient criteria (NNC):
After passage by the state House of Representatives and Senate, Governor Rick Scott signed House Bill 7051 into law on February 16, 2012. HB 7051 directs the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to submit revisions to 62-302 and 62-303, F.A.C., to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) within 30 days of the effective date of the bill. These rule amendments contained the state level NNC developed by FDEP.
The FDEP transmitted these rule amendments to the EPA on February 20, 2012 by letter from Sec. Herschel T. Vinyard, Jr. The letter requested that EPA “return to Floridians the responsibility for protecting Florida’s waters.” A copy of the letter is available here.
A day after the governor signed HB 7051, the EPA agreed to delay implementation of the federal NNC. However, the EPA stated that the extension was unrelated to the signing of the bill. The new date for potential implementation of the federal NNC would be June 4, 2012. This date would be nullified if the EPA accepts the FDEP state-level NNC.
Environmental groups, which have challenged the state rule changes, objected to the extension. An administrative hearing on the rule challenge is set to begin February 27, 2012.