Thursday, January 21, 2010

Floridians being singled out for higher water rates!



The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that it is proposing new water quality standards for lakes and flowing waters in the State of Florida. To review the new regulations, please click here:
http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/standards/rules/florida.

The EPA proposed this rule pursuant to Section 303(c)(4)(B) of the Clean Water Act. According to the Don't Tax Florida Coalition, Floridians can expect significantly higher water bills under these proposed regulations. According to the Florida Water Environment Association, the new EPA regulations could force utilities to spend $50 billion in capital costs that would then be passed on to customers through higher fees and fewer services. The Don't Tax Florida website (www.DontTaxFlorida.com) reflects that a separate survey of nine (9) Florida water utilities estimated that a household's sewer rates would increase by $62 per month or more than $700 per year. This proposed EPA change could equate to much higher costs for your community association members at a time when they can least afford it!

In any event, the EPA is holding three (3) public hearings in Florida during the public comment period for the proposed rule. The public comment period will begin on the day the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register and will last for 60 days. These public hearings are your opportunity to make your voices heard. If you show up, you will have 5 minutes or less to put your position into the public record. You do not have to be present at the hearings in order to provide written comments to the proposed rule. If you click the link above which contains the proposed rule you will see the instructions to provide your written comments.

In addition to giving your public comment directly to the EPA as discussed above, I encourage you to phone, write or email every member of the Florida Legislature to let your elected Florida officials know how you feel about this change in federal policy. This is one of those rare opportunities when the government is asking for your comment before they make changes that impact your wallet; don't miss the chance to weigh in.

The dates and locations of the EPA's public hearings are as follows:

February 16, 2010: 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm at the Holiday Inn Capitol East, 1355 Apalachee Parkway, Tallahassee, FL 32301
February 17, 2010: 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm and 7:0 pm to 10:00 pm at the Crowne Plaza Orlando Universal, 7800 Universal Blvd. Orlando, FL 32819
February 18, 2010: 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm at the Holiday Inn Palm Beach Airport, 1301 Belvedere Road, West Palm Beach, FL 33405

If you have any questions about the public hearings, please contact Sharon Frey with the EPA at frey.sharon@epa.gov or by phone at 202-566-1480. When those rare opportunities are presented to you to make a difference, please seize them!

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