New Environmental Protection Agency water quality standards in Florida would cost agricultural industries hundreds of million of dollars and cause sharp increases in food prices, according to state and local agricultural officials.
EPA officials say the new “Numeric Nutrients” standards — which are scheduled to become law in March — are needed to maintain water quality in the state and that the costs have been exaggerated by critics.
Those critics include local farming and citrus officials, and the state of Florida. The state has filed a lawsuit against the EPA asking for a temporary injunction against the new standards. The suit is backed by citrus groups and other agricultural organizations. The critics say the EPA standards are not scientifically based and will not substantially improve water quality.