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Statement by Barney Bishop on U.S. District Court ruling paving the way for higher Florida water costs

November 16, 2009

TALLAHASSEE -- Barney Bishop III, President and CEO of Associated Industries of Florida, released the following statement today regarding a decision by a U.S. District Court judge to accept the Consent Decree between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Earthjustice group.

“We are disappointed that this decision means Floridians are a step closer to having to pay what would in effect be a federal water tax of billions of dollars. By acting on a lawsuit rather than sound science, the U.S. EPA is threatening new onerous water standards for Florida – and only Florida – that will punish millions of Florida families with new water costs that would reach hundreds of dollars per family each year.

“The radical Earthjustice environmental group has said it ‘got exactly what we wanted,’ from this decision. They must be right, because it will only help to drive Florida's economy deeper into the ditch at a time when unemployment in the state has already topped 11 percent.

“It is deeply troubling that the federal government would inflict these costly, draconian limits on any state – let alone in such terrible economic times. Demanding these requirements from only one state – Florida – is grotesque and an abhorrent overreach of government powered by politics and runaway litigation.”