SARASOTA, FL—On Wednesday, December 9, the Environmental Appeals Board will hear arguments in Center for Food Safety (CFS), the Don't Cage Our Ocean Coalition, and local allies' legal appeal challenging Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) pollution discharge permit for Velella Epsilon, the first ever industrial finfish aquaculture facility in federal waters, 45 miles off the coast of Sarasota, Florida.
EPA's permit will allow the facility to discharge numerous pollutants directly into the ocean and surrounding ecosystems. At stake at the argument is whether EPA sufficiently analyzed the impacts of each pollutant the facility will discharge on the marine environment, the facility's impact on endangered and threatened species, and the sufficiency of the environmental assessment that was conducted.
WHAT: Public oral argument in CFS's legal appeal challenging EPA pollution permit for first ever industrial finfish facility in federal waters
WHEN: Wednesday, December 9, 2021, at 1:30 pm EST
WHERE: EPA Environmental Appeals Board Zoom Livestream. Details here>>
The coalition behind the appeal, originally filed in November 2020, includes CFS, Recirculating Farms Coalition, Friends of the Earth, Center for Biological Diversity, Food & Water Watch, Healthy Gulf, Suncoast Waterkeeper, and Tampa Bay Waterkeeper. The appeal argues that the EPA permit in question violates the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Endangered Species Act.
The groups allege EPA violated the law by failing to evaluate the potential dangers of the wastewater that the Velella Epsilon facility will release, such as phosphorus and nitrogen contributing to harmful algal blooms (also often known as red tide), antibiotics, escaped fish, and pathogens and parasites. By allowing this facility to pollute, the EPA has failed to protect the vulnerable Gulf ecosystems, endangered species, and public health.