This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL) prohibiting federal funds from being used to enforce a federal regulation intended to reduce nutrient pollution (pollution from plant nutrients and fertilizers) in Florida’s lakes, rivers, and streams. This amendment was offered to a continuing resolution funding the federal government through September 2011, and cutting $61 billion in federal funding for many government programs.
Rooney urged support for his amendment: “ Like all Floridians, I want clean and safe water, but this debate is not over whether we want clean water for Florida; it is over how we reach that goal and at what cost….Our unemployment rate is over 12 percent and at 15 percent in some parts of my district. New, costly regulations are not going to improve those numbers….Until the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] is willing to consider Florida's unique needs and economy, this regulation must not go into effect. A recent poll shows that 68 percent of Floridians do not want this Washington, D.C., mandate.”
Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) opposed the amendment: “…This amendment is the equivalent of sticking your head in the sand--I use that analogy because we're talking about Florida--hoping that a growing problem somehow will miraculously go away….I fail to understand how the supporters of this amendment think that it's okay for folks to dump manure, fertilizer, and sewage into lakes and rivers without regard to the health of these waters or to the health of the people who depend upon these waters….There's a good question as to how much longer tourists will keep flocking to Florida if its lakes, streams, and rivers are in a death spiral, flushed with the water quality of cesspools.”
The House agreed to this amendment by a vote of 237-189. Voting “yea” were 221 Republicans and 16 Democrats. 172 Democrats and 17 Republicans voted “nay.” As a result, the House agreed to an amendment prohibiting funds provided by a “continuing resolution” (which funded the federal government through September 2011, and cut $61 billion in federal funding for many government programs) from being used to enforce a federal regulation intended to reduce nutrient pollution (pollution from plant nutrients and fertilizers) in Florida’s lakes, rivers, and streams.