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Water-Related News

Judge extends deadline for federal agency to issue new pollution limits

By Bruce Ritchie

A federal judge on Thursday granted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency a nearly six-month extension on a deadline to establish new federal water pollution limits in Florida.

But U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle also warned the agency not to expect any additional extensions in an issue that has pitted some environmentalists against state officials and utilities and industry groups. The issue involves setting numeric background limits for nutrients, including phosphorus and nitrogen compounds. The nutrients come from a variety of sources including fertilizer, livestock operations, industry and utilities.

The EPA filed the extension request last week, saying it needed more time after Hinkle in February tossed out the pollution limits that some Florida officials and industry groups objected to as too costly.