Sarasota News Leader

12/07/2012

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OPINION WITH NEW EPA RULES COMES HOPE FOR FLORIDA'S WATERWAYS EDITORIAL Florida often is said to resemble a block of Swiss cheese, resting on a bed of ancient limestone shot through with sinkholes, spring basins and subterranean caves and caverns. Over eons, rain falling on the surface percolated through the limestone bedrock, filtered until it was absolutely pure. It is no wonder early Spanish explorers were said to have been convinced the "fountain of youth" could be found among these pristine waters. algal blooms and other signs of pollution in our once-pure waters. Documentaries such as "Florida Springs — The Unexplored Florida" have detailed exploration of the state's labyrinthine subterranean caves and caverns. The filmmakers revealed the bones of mastodons and other ancient creatures in waters that were untouched by humans over the millennia. Sadly, the researchers also found evidence the waters were changing, that even in the deep recesses As population and development increased dra- of these springs, pollution could be found. matically over the past 100 years — especially the last 50 — these unspoiled waters have In recent years, the U.S. Environmental Probecome the unfortunate victim of "progress." tection Agency has sought to have Florida's Nutrient loading from agricultural and resi- regulatory agencies do more to protect both dential lawn fertilizer runoff, livestock waste, surface and subterranean waters. As has been leaking septic tanks and improperly treated the case in so many other cases of developers sewage has produced a dramatic increase in versus the environment, the state has dragged

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