Stopping toxic algae blooms in Florida's waterways; and new information on allegations that Vern Buchanan may Have funnelled money illegally to his Congressional campaigns

09/26/11 Robert Lorei
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First up this afternoon - According to the Florida Independent, "Several members of Florida’s Republican congressional delegation sent a letter last week to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, urging her to withdraw what they called the agency’s “job-killing” water regulations in Florida."

The “nutrient criteria,” which were mandated under the Bush administration, aim to place stricter limits on phosphorus and nitrogen, which lead to algal blooms and fish kills in state waterways.

Citing a recent decision in Mississippi, the lawmakers write that the EPA needs to “immediately reconsider” its Florida standards.

“It has come to our attention that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently denied the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy’s (MCEA) petition requesting that the EPA set numeric nutrient water quality standards for the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico,” reads the letter. “As representatives of the only state in the nation subject to EPA numeric nutrient standards, we hope that EPA’s cooperative approach to the Mississippi River basin signals that EPA will immediately reconsider its unilateral actions in Florida.”

The letter is signed by Marco Rubio, Vern Buchanan, Connie Mack and a host of others." To talk about the effort to stop the EPA from reducing pollutants in our water ways is David Guest says "After years of seeing nauseating algae outbreaks on popular Florida tourist beaches like Sanibel Island and at fishing meccas like the St. Johns River, we citizens finally got the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to start setting limits on the sewage, fertilizer and manure pollution that's threatening our drinking water and our health.

This type of pollution is preventable. We can combat it at its source, by upgrading old sewer plants, using modern manure management on agricultural operations and being smarter about applying fertilizer. Cleaning up our waters is a good thing, but you wouldn't know it by reading the distortions and inflated cost estimates that highly paid polluter-lobbyists are peddling to scare people. They will spend whatever it takes to make sure they can keep using our public waters as their private sewers." Guest is an attorney with the Earth Justice Foundation in Tallahassee.

Next, we'll talk with Florida Independent reporter Virginia Chamlee who wrote recently that: "Two voice mails left by Rep. Vern Buchanan for a former business partner and obtained by The Florida Independent shed more light on the ongoing dispute between the two men over who initiated what the Federal Election Commission has called an “extensive and ongoing scheme” to funnel “secret, illegal contributions” to Buchanan’s 2006 and 2008 campaigns."

The FEC filed suit against Sam Kazran (Buchanan’s former business partner) and Hyundai of North Jacksonville (a car dealership the two once co-owned) in December 2010 for allegedly breaking election laws.

As first reported by The Florida Independent, the FEC charged that Kazran violated campaign contribution limits and used funds from the dealership “to reimburse [dealership] employees, Kazran’s business partners, their family members and Kazran’s relatives for $67,900 in contributions to Buchanan’s 2006 and 2008 Congressional campaigns.”

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