TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- The Florida Senate has passed a bill authorizing the state's Department of Environmental Protection to start enforcing rules to reduce water pollution.
The bill (SB 1808) passed 34-4 on Wednesday.
State and federal environmental authorities agreed last month 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 the federal government's 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 and that results in the blooms that cause red tides and other outbreaks.
A companion bill is in the House.