Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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FL Drinking Water Quality: EPA – In or Out?

TALLAHASSEE, FL - It's mark-up time this week for the federal budget. But there's concern among some that opponents of restoring tougher clean water regulations will try to knock out Environmental Protection Agency funding that impacts drinking water in Florida.

Steve Moyer, vice president of government affairs for Trout Unlimited, said his group supports a proposal in Congress that would clarify the EPA's jurisdiction to protect the quality of small rivers and streams. He said clearly defining the lines of what's protected is imperative for the agency to do its job.

"It's a very fundamental thing," said Moyer. "You can't protect something unless you know it's in or out."

Opponents of the rules have said they're not needed, and will be bad for business.

Supporters argue that getting the EPA back into the business of protecting small rivers and streams is crucial, not only to farmers and people, but to all living creatures in Florida.

Moyer added that Congress should allow the rule-making process to go forward and not cut funding, because the comment period on rules restoring the EPA's authority extend into October.

"You shouldn't mess with the Clean Water Act," said Moyer. "That's the source of drinking water. And trout habitat is something that's really important."

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