Okaloosa County Commissioner Meeting

There will be a discussion of the proposed school tax and other tax abatement programs on May 5th, 6PM at the Crestview Courthouse.

http://www.co.okaloosa.fl.us/doc/bcc/agenda/2010/agenda_05-04-10.pdf

FWB Tea Party Leads on EPA Fight

The FWB Tea Party has led a statewide effort to protest the EPA overreach into a State matter.  For those not familiar with the story the EPA is attempting to dictate to the State of Florida, and Florida only, the content of the nutrients in our drinking water.   If these regulations pass, estimates range from a minimum doubling to a four fold increase in our water bills.  For Details Click Here

The worst part?  Just like the Destin Fisherman issue, it’s based on flawed science.  And that’s the opinion of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.  Note their use of the words “not scientifically valid” and “not consistent” and “too simplistic”.  

The next worst part – Okaloosa just spent $60 million of your tax dollars to have a state of the art wastewater plant, barely 60 days old, will not meet these new EPA standards.

The FWB Tea Party became aware of this at an Okaloosa County Commissioner meeting.  We used our network of contacts to spread the word of upcoming EPA hearings in Tallahassee, Orlando and West Palm Beach.

Within days of our efforts, the EPA announced it had to move the meetings to larger locations, and increase the number of hearings, to accommodate the “overwhelming public interest”.   Each session had hundreds of attendees, the vast majority of whom spoke against these regulations.

As a result of our messages, fellow Patriots in Orlando and West Palm had street rallies and also spoke on the record to the EPA.  6 Patriots from Okaloosa County also drove over to Tallahassee to speak out and protest.

The FWB Tea Party was given the chance to be the very first speaker at the very first hearing.  Read the statement here.  We have now been contacted by State Representatives all over the State expressing their support, and we established contacts with multiple organizations including the Florida Association of Counties, and Florida League of Cities. 

Beyond that, many people came up to us and expressed thanks that a citizens group was finally banding together to speak out against Federal overreach.

But most of all we showed how a small group who focuses on principles can make even a group like the EPA slow down and re-evaluate it’s process.   This battle is merely beginning, but this time we are the ones leading the effort to stop yet another Federal overreach into our State.

EPA Letter from State Rep. Seth McKeel, District 63 Florida

Talk about too much government…
February 19, 2010 | Seth McKeel | No Comments

I’m going to venture off the transportation/economic development topics I have been covering of late and lead you in a fairly technical direction as it relates to water quality. I’ll provide plenty of links below so you may get as technically informed about this subject as you choose to. But while the topic is technically complicated, my message to our region is simple. This water quality issue amounts to a radical over-statement of government which could cost average citizens thousands of dollars for no apparent good cause. This one really is the “too much government” we speak about so often in politics. I believe government should invest the people’s money in ways that provide for critical health and safety while encouraging economic expansion and job creation. This one burdens us – and the timing couldn’t be worse!

The Calm After the StormHere’s the deal in a nutshell: Under the federal Clean Water Act, states are expected to develop numeric nutrient criteria. Nutrient pollution, i.e. excess nitrogen and phosphorus levels in water bodies, can cause harm to aquatic ecosystems and threaten public health. Through the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) and its water management districts, Florida has established robust standards and enacted programs to support water quality. In September of 2007, DEP produced a Numeric Nutrient Criteria Plan which outlined its approach for developing numeric nutrient criteria throughout the state. This plan was submitted to and agreed upon by the US Environmental Protection Agency. But in the summer of 2008, along comes the environmental group EarthJustice filing a lawsuit in federal court against the EPA Administrator alleging that the agency had failed to comply with its responsibility under the Clean Water Act to force Florida to expeditiously adopt numeric nutrient criteria. As a result, EPA hastily issued a proposed rule in January 2010 establishing numeric nutrient criteria for Florida water bodies and giving us until this October to comply with the new regulations.

In my opinion, Florida Citrus Mutual said it best “…the lawsuit-driven proposed numeric nutrient criteria coming from EPA are 1) technically and scientifically unsupported; 2) arguably economically unattainable, creating major hardships for every sector of Florida’seconomy and local governments; and 3) not reasonably related to the health of flora and fauna (i.e. freshwater and marine-based plant and animal life) of Florida’s waters.” More info from Citrus Mutual here.

Moreover, a consortium of Florida’s water and wastewater utilities estimate costs to implement this baseless numeric criteria range from $650-$750 per year, per household in Florida. And that’s just households. Imagine the cost to small businesses? (pdf)

I am working diligently with my colleagues in the Florida House to petition EPA for an extension of the comment period and for additional public hearings throughout our state. But the bottom line here is this: Floridians can’t afford this, nor can our small businesses, and nor can our agriculture industry, which would be unfairly punished in this scheme. In fact, agriculture is leading our state out of this economic recession (more on that later) and it continues to play a major role in our regional economy. Environmental and industry leaders have praised the state’s efforts to improve water quality. Why not allow the rigorous standards we already have in place sufficient time to prove effective. Now just isn’t the time to impose this clumsy, heavy-handed piece of bad government on folks.

Live at the epa part 2

Almost every speaker has spoken against these regulations and in general support of our concerns

The only speaker who spoke in support of the regulations spoke out against president bush and the fwbteaparty.

Interestingly enough she presented no scientific data to support her case, only a screed that, despite our $60 million ivestment in a new plant, we should pay any cost that the EPA deems necessary.

Live at the EPA Hearings

I am joined by patriots Bob Atwood, Joseph Pascarella, and Zane Gray. County commissioner Jannazo and several county employees are in attendance, along with several hundred attendees.

I was given the first speaking slot of the entire hearing. You can find the content below in this blog.

My comments have been well received by the crowd, and every speaker that has followed is raising the same concerns and issues.

Daily News Tea party article

A good article about our growing influence on local politics was posted on page B5 of the February 14th print edition.

Article on the Power of Regulatory Agencies

As we prepare for the EPA hearings next week in Tally, Orlando, and West Palm, understand the stakes:  I had written previously that if an issue would not pass through legislative means, it would be regulated into existence.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/13/us/politics/13obama.html

February 13, 2010

Obama Making Plans to Use Executive Power

By PETER BAKER

WASHINGTON — With much of his legislative agenda stalled in Congress, President Obama and his team are preparing an array of actions using his executive power to advance energy, environmental, fiscal and other domestic policy priorities.

Mr. Obama has not given up hope of progress on Capitol Hill, aides said, and has scheduled a session with Republican leaders on health care later this month. But in the aftermath of a special election in Massachusetts that cost Democrats unilateral control of the Senate, the White House is getting ready to act on its own in the face of partisan gridlock heading into the midterm campaign.

“We are reviewing a list of presidential executive orders and directives to get the job done across a front of issues,” said Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff.

Any president has vast authority to influence policy even without legislation, through executive orders, agency rule-making and administrative fiat. And Mr. Obama’s success this week in pressuring the Senate to confirm 27 nominations by threatening to use his recess appointment power demonstrated that executive authority can also be leveraged to force action by Congress.