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Massachusetts steps up for Puerto Rico, the White House convenes its first hunger conference in more than 50 years, and hydroponics could be the future of tomatoes in California.

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Arizona's Sen. Kyrsten Simema defends the filibuster, the CBO says student loan forgiveness could cost $400 billion, and whistleblower Edward Snowden is granted Russian citizenship.

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The Old Farmer's Almanac predicts two winters across the U.S., the Inflation Reduction Act could level the playing field for rural electric co-ops, and pharmacies are dwindling in rural America.

FL Congressman Seeks Limits on Clean Water Regs

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Thursday, August 11, 2011   

ORLANDO, Fla. - Sixth District Congressman Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) held House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearings this week in Orlando on the economic impact of tough new federal environmental regulations intended to protect Florida's water resources. The commercial and industrial community calls them "restrictions" that would cut financial growth and cost jobs.

Cathy Harrelson, Florida coordinator of the Gulf Restoration Network (GRN), characterizes Stearns' hearing as a bit one-sided. She says one committee member, Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas), would even like to prohibit public interest groups from suing states over water pollution standards.

"He also suggested we reduce Clean Water Act regulation - in fact, that we reduce the safe drinking water portion of the Clean Water Act regulations - which I also found astonishing."

Opponents of tougher clean water enforcement policies got a setback last week, when the U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta, Ga., ruled that the new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules to regulate clean water standards in Florida can go forward.

Harrelson, who attended the hearing uninvited, says Stearns was once a principal proponent of protecting Florida's water resources. Now, however, she says Stearns is dunking the public interest by making claims such as, "'This is very difficult for industries in Florida and for businesses in Florida, and it is going to result in some sort of increased bill for Floridians, and loss of jobs.'"

The new EPA rules came after GRN and other environmental activists exposed state regulators for ignoring nutrient and industrial wastes seeping into rivers and streams, smothering fish and covering some waterways with green slime.

More information is available at www.HealthyGulf.org.




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