TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida lawmakers have wrapped up legislation authorizing the state's Department of Environmental Protection to start enforcing rules to reduce water pollution.
The bill (SB 1808) passed the House on a 103-13 vote Wednesday. It cleared the Senate earlier and now goes to Gov. Rick Scott.
State and federal environmental authorities agreed recently on "numeric nutrient criteria" — how much fertilizer and other pollutants should be allowed in Florida waters.
The idea is to let Florida eventually enforce water pollution rules without federal intervention. Environmental groups have complained the rules aren't strict enough.
Fertilizer and animal manure from farms and ranches run into waterways and carry nitrogen and phosphorus. Those act as nutrients to algae. The algae have a feeding frenzy, resulting in blooms that cause red tides and other outbreaks.