TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will adopt a combination of state and federal water pollution rules for Florida after a lengthy court fight with environmental groups that favored the federal version, agency officials said late Friday.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson initially filed a brief notice in federal court in Tallahassee saying she had taken all actions required by a consent decree that the agency had entered with the environmental groups. They had accused the agency of failing to follow its own regulations by not requiring Florida to adopt more stringent standards for such nutrients as nitrogen and phosphorus.
But on Friday evening, the agency issued a news release saying it had also approved the state rules for some waterways. Earthjustice lawyer David Guest, who represents the environmental groups, said he was pleased because the federal rule will apply to about 82,000 of 100,000 miles of waterways and the state rule will cover the remaining 18,000. EPA regional water protection director Jim Giattina said the area covered by the federal rule might be smaller.